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#1 UNC at UCSB

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Where: Thunderdome, Santa Barbara, CA
When: Friday, November 21st, 10:00 PM
TV: ESPNU
Livestats: SCACCHoops

Records: UNC 2-0; UCSB 1-1

The return of Tyler Hansbrough?

That is a maybe at present.  Not sure when the shootaround is scheduled but that will be the final determination assuming everything was fine after practice yesterday.

This game is the homecoming affair for Deon Thompson and would have also been for Alex Stepheson had he stayed.  Larry Drew is also a local kid but with the Wears coming on board next season I think we can assume UNC will be back to the area again, possibly trying to fill the slot left vacant by Arizona deciding playing against UNC was no way to rebuild a program.

As for what happens this evening, even if Hansbrough plays I imagine it would be limited minutes which means more Deon Thompson and Ed Davis in the paint.  Thompson has certainly stepped up his game.  He will deal with the "playing in front of family and friends" factor which can make a player tight.  Davis on the other hand will be call upon to step up his offensive game in the wake of Zeller's injury.  If Hansbrough is out, look for Roy to get completely wacky with the lineups since there is zero frontline depth.  If Hansbrough does play it may add some normalcy to the rotation.

Personally I think all eyes are on the NBA Draft Trio of Ty Lawson, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington who have not been very good in the opening two games.  The shooting percentages are way down for all three.  Lawson missed a ton of easy jumpers against UK, Ellington drove the lane a lot but could not finish and Green only took five shots total.  That simply is not going to cut it though I do think when Hansbrough returns in may take the pressure off those guys.  I am beginning to think that Lawson and Ellington are pressing too much in an effort to compensate for the loss of Hansbrough. The results have not been all that grand so let's see if they can shake off the funk they have been in.

Bobby Frasor and Will Graves also should not be forgotten in the mix.  Frasor has look good and I think Graves is a much improved player on both ends.  If Hansbrough is still out, Graves will end up with more minutes, possibly at the four spot.

At any rate I expect an easy win but there is a chill wind of parity in the air so far this season.  The Heels should definitely watch their back and break the Gouchos early.

UNC 91 UCSB 68