Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Monday, December 19th, 7:00 PM
Records: UNC 9-2; Nicholls St. 4-7
UNC played Saturday, plays today then plays Wednesday which is a little like the NCAA Tournament. I wonder if Roy Williams scheduled it with that in mind or making sure they got a nice eight day break over Christmas.
UNC played Nicholls St four years ago on this date. I actually went to that game. Good seats too. UNC did not play particularly well as I recall, at least not on defense. It ended up being only a ten point game and Nicholls St. shot 14-28 from three point range. Of all the "opposing team goes nuts on UNC from three" games we've seen, this one might be the most prolific, statistically speaking. Especially when you consider NSU ended up 10-21 and as a team only shot 33% from three that season. Anyway, I seem to recall Roy Williams being six kinds of ticked off in his postgame press conference alluding to the possibility of pain and suffering in the next practice. He was not happy as I imagine he was not all that happy with portions of the Appalachian St. game, particularly on defense.
That is why I would expect a somewhat better effort out of this team though with Texas coming to town on Wednesday, I think there is a question of how much effort do you expend on a team Ken Pomeroy says you have a 99.6% chance of beating? With that in mind, a quick strike and fat halftime lead is probably the best way to get ready for the next game. None of the top eight in the rotation should see the court for more than 23-25 minutes.
And no, it won't be a perfect performance. I have really reached a point that I am not sure how much stock we should put in performances versus teams like this. If UNC were to come out and beat Nicholls St. by 63 everyone would tap the brakes and say we shouldn't take anything from it. If they don't do that then people panic and start using the Transitive Property of College Basketball to portend doom on the season. With the starters only playing 25 minutes max and Roy being somewhat loose with the rotation for games like this, it stands to reason the game will be a little uneven. The important sign to look for is do they have a significant stretch of dominance(such as the middle 20 minutes of the game) where they blow the doors of the other team and make this largely an academic exercise? That is what has happened in other games versus overmatched opponents in the past and not just this season. The point is that I am less worried about UNC coming off the gas in games like this as I would be if they did it in ACC play or even versus Texas in two days.
UNC will win, it shouldn't be uncomfortable.
UNC 101 Nicholls St. 71