Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Tuesday, December 6th, 7:00 PM
Records: UNC 6-2; Evansville 3-3
Tonight begins a nine game home stand for the Heels after playing five of their first eight games away from Chapel Hill. Of those nine games the first seven will be against non-conference foes of which only two are ranked in the KenPom top 100. In other words this is cupcake and biscuit time, providing the opposing team obliges the Heels with playing a tempo resembling real basketball unlike say, Wisconsin.
What these games also represent is an opportunity to iron out the kinks and more practice time. When there are a run of road games, travel cuts into practice plus travel itself can be tiresome within itself. With UNC at home for nine games there will be more opportunity to practice and for individuals to work on their individual games. It much easier to go for extra shooting practice in Chapel Hill than on the road. The exam break and Christmas will be interruptions but this stretch in December will constitute the last real chance Roy Williams has to do some in-depth teaching. Once ACC play hits, the season rolls along at a nice clip making practice more a routine in keeping sharp rather than necessarily improving certain areas.
In tonight's matchup, I for one would love to see Tyler Zeller get his confidence and offensive consistency back. In fact the focal point of the game plan should be to get the ball inside because (1) Evansville doesn't have anyone taller than 6-8 and is awful rebounding the basketball and (2) Zeller needs to get a good game under his belt even if it is against undersized competition. Evansville is also not a good team defending the three so something along the lines of a balanced offense would also work extremely well.
Over the next seven non-conference games UNC is favored by KenPom to go 7-0 with a win probabilities of 97, 90, 98, 99.6, 86, 98, 99.6. This is the time of the season you work on the holes in the team game, don't overtax your starters' minutes and give the people in Chapel Hill all the biscuits they can handle.
UNC 105 Evansville 72