North Carolina at UNC Greensboro, 7:00 PM, ESPN2
UNC looks to bounce back from the loss at Kentucky where the Tar Heels played relatively well in certain aspects of the game despite taking it on the chin for a 14 point loss. Now the attention turns to UNC Greensboro coached by former Tar Heel guard Wes Miller. The Spartans are 4-6 overall and ranked 280th according to KenPom.
For the Tar Heels this is a game very similar to the one versus East Carolina. UNC is still working out kinks in the rotation and general on the court chemistry. While these games often times provide little value in terms of resume and perception, they can be very helpful in getting individual players back into the correct mindset. The win over East Carolina served as just that for Brice Johnson who had struggled in the previous five games to do anything productive including stay out of foul trouble. Johnson's 19 points and 17 rebounds against ECU righted the proverbial ship to the point he played well in the next outing versus Kentucky.
In that respect all eyes will again be on Marcus Paige who showed signs of last season's production in the second half(natch) against Kentucky. Paige went 4-6 from three on Saturday and put the stop to three game stretch where he junior guard was 4-17 from beyond the arc. Paige's three point shooting, though recently down, has not been primary source of concern when it comes to his production. His shooting inside the arc is still hovering around 35% and on Saturday, Paige was 1-5 on two point shots. It marked the fourth time this season Paige has hit just one two point shot in four or more attempts. Paige's biggest issue is finishing around the rim which he hasn't done nearly as well this season as last. The key to his numbers improving may rest on that aspect of his game improving to 2013 levels.
From a team perspective, you can certainly argue UNC is making progress but also in a mode of figuring out how the pieces all fit. Looking at the previous nine games, there are elements of solid play in key aspects of the overall team game but UNC has yet to really put it all together in impressive fashion. Not to oversimplify the matter but it really comes down to consistency. UNC will look to find some of that versus UNCG to build some momentum for a highly important game Saturday against Ohio State.
UNC 102 UNCG 58