Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Tuesday, November 18th, 9 PM
Live Stats: SCACCHoops
Records: UNC 1-0; UK 0-1
Live blogging tonight beginning around 8:30.
I think when UNC and Kentucky renewed this series they imagine it would pit two traditional powerhouses ranked in the top 25. That has never really been the case since UNC has really been up during the past few seasons and UK down. Still it is a nice game to have on the schedule since these two are #1 and #2 all time in college basketball wins. I also like that UNC does not shy away from including a trip to Lexington every other season. In this edition, UK comes to Chapel Hill hoping to avoid an 0-1 start after inexplicably losing to VMI. UNC still missing two valuable cogs to the Roy Williams Engine of High Scoring Uptempo Basketball will be asking for Tyler Zeller and Ed Davis to grow up a little faster than maybe they expected while looking to Deon Thompson to be a force in the lane versus highly touted Patrick Patterson.
The real story of this game lies with the guards, particularly the trio of Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green. Ellington and Lawson did not shoot well against Penn despite getting good looks and the junior point guard was not as aggressive versus the Quaker zone as Roy would probably like to see. Green had a good game but if UNC can get these three firing on all cylinders while the frontline plays like it did on Saturday, the Heels can really roll in this one. Having gong through one game without Hansbrough and Ginyard, the players sort of know how things look now so I expect that to not be an issue going forward.
Not to put too much on early season games, but it would be nice if the Heels could turn this one into a statement game and that statement would be:
See how good we can be without Hansbrough and Ginyard, we are going to be freaking scary when we get both of them back.
It is not a season breaker by any means but looking down the road to Duke struggling with Rhode Island, SEC West favorite Alabama losing to Mercer and a handful of other near upsets/upsets out there it would be nice to see an absolutely dominant performance from the Heels. And by dominant I am not simply looking at the score but more in the execution on both ends. UNC needs to come out and play at a high level all game, if for no other reason, than to illustrate whoever gave a #1 vote to UConn in the coaches poll is sorely mistaken.
Update: Forgot the prediction. UNC 95 UK 70