Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Saturday, January 7th, 2:30 PM
TV: ACC Network
Records: UNC 13-2, 0-0 ACC; Boston College 5-9, 0-0 ACC
The start of conference play, well technically speaking anyway.
There is no way around the fact that Boston College is an awful team especially in terms of the caliber of team normally seen in ACC play. Historically speaking, ACC teams normally exist in the KenPom top 100. From 2003-2011 only three teams finished the season worse than 100 in the KenPom rankings. Clemson was 117th in 2003, Virginia was 105th in 2009 and Wake Forest was 251st last season. So far in 2012, there are five teams ranked worse than 100th. Boston College is one of them at a league worst 277th. The conventional wisdom is once a team enters ACC play the level of competition rises from the menu of cupcakes who fall in the 100-300 range on KenPom. That is not the case this season since playing the Eagles today will be no different than playing Elon who the Heels beat by 50 despite shooting the ball poorly.
The talk all week heading into this game is how UNC players will ratchet up the intensity level for conference play. That could turn out to be a tough chose considering the nature of the opponent. Roy Williams admitted yesterday in his press conference than this group of Heels are not naturally intense and it something they need to be pressed on to some extent. It will be interesting to see how that bears out today in a game that could be a 30 point rout by halftime. If I had to guess, I would say we see 20 minutes of focused basketball with some cruise control in the second half with the game in hand. There is no point in playing extended minutes in a sure win.
Boston College is a program that is clearing in rebuilding mode with the major problem being second year coach Steve Donahue is building from the ground up. The Eagles have nine freshmen on the roster and five of those are starters. That would work out really well if these freshmen were Chris Webber and Jalen Rose. That is not the case and BC has suffered mightily all season through the growing pains. It stands to reason BC will be vastly improved a season or two from now but in the present it will be painful to watch. Still, UNC will be challenged in the respect BC will try to slow the tempo down and make this a halfcourt game. While the Heels have BC overmatched it never hurts to work on your game versus a style different from your own.
There is one injury note. James Michael McAdoo sprained his ankle two days ago. X-rays were negative but he is being called "doubtful" for this game.
UNC 98 BC 53