Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Saturday, November 15th, 4:00 PM
TV: Fox Sports South
Records: Season Opener For Both
The quest begins.
UNC, under Roy Williams, as a penchant for not playing paritculary well in openers. Not that this puts them in danger of losing this one but riddle with injuries to a pair of starters from last season, one of them the reigning NPOY, I am lowering expectations a bit on how well the Heels play tomorrow. That translates into beating Penn by 25 instead of 35 I am sure.
We do know that Tyler Hansbrough, Marcus Ginyard and Mike Copeland are out. Justin Watts was injured but is ready, though I am thinking he sees mop-up duty more than anything else. Bobby Frasor is also questionable and Roy deemed any time missed by the senior backup PG to be a major issue since Frasor is one of the best defenders on the team. The loss of personnel cuts into the depth and it will be interesting to see how much it affects UNC's uptempo style.
Obviously most of what we look for in this came will center on how well the team plays defense. The conventional wisdom is the offense is just fine and dandy but if the Heels have their eyes on a national title they better learn to play defense as a team. As a result most of the attention will center there, especially since the offense we see now will not be the offense we see once everyone is healthy. The offense still should be fun to watch just focused more on the perimeter play than the frontline though I would not count Deon Thompson out as a force underneath.
We will also get out first look, in a meaninful game, at Tyler Zeller, Ed Davis and Larry Drew. Roy is debating whether to start Zeller or Davis in place of Hansbrough. Zeller impressed last week and earlier in practice but apparently Davis has come on off late. Davis struggle with a minor injury which might explain why he was a little slow in getting up to speed. Drew might end up being an important piece if Frasor is indeed out. Even with this team fully healthy, the quality of this team hinges somewhat on how well the freshman play since it afford UNC quality depth that can trump any opposing team's bench.
Overall I expect an easy win but a feeling that the team is in flux which it is.
UNC 103 Penn 66