Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Thursday, December 29th, 7:00 PM
Records: UNC 11-2; Elon 7-4
Time to get back to work.
UNC returns to the court following an eight day layoff after beating Texas by 19 on December 21st. The team returned to Chapel Hill and began practicing again two days ago so it is probable they will be a little rusty for this one. Then again so should Elon which last played seven days ago on the road at San Diego St. For this one the Phoenix only needs to make the short trip down I-40 to Chapel Hill. Oh and if you are wondering what connection brought about the scheduling of this game, former Tar Heel walk-on from the 2008 and 2009 teams, Jack Wooten, is an assistant on the Elon staff.
Statistically speaking, Elon presents a slightly more difficult test than previous teams in the 200 or worse range on KenPom. Of course KenPom still gives UNC a 98% chance of winning the game so it actually may not prove that difficult at all. What the Texas game has taught us in comparison to the games prior to it versus bad teams is these Tar Heels bring it when the stakes are higher. When the stakes are low or the opponent is clearly overmatched, they back of the accelerator a bit. Roy Williams is probably not happy with this approach but that seems to be how this particularly group is geared. There is also the rotation and the fact Roy won't play his starters more than 20-25 minutes in games like this unlike over at Kentucky where starters are putting in over 30 mins in fairly inconsequential games.
On the other hand, perhaps they will approach this game and the next one versus Monmouth as an opportunity to ramp up to conference play and hit the ground running. I know there will be some fan grumbling if the Harrison Barnes from then Texas game doesn't start making more frequent appearances. However there is a clear pattern to these games for UNC which involves taking control of the game at some point which a huge run then cruising the rest of the way with the bench playing most of the final ten minutes.
UNC 97 Elon 66