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Game Preview: #19 UNC vs William & Mary

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina vs William & Mary, 7:00 PM, RSN

The Tar Heels welcome former Tar Heel and current William & Mary head coach Tony Shaver back to Chapel Hill for the first time since UNC won 85-60 over the Tribe in December of 2010 as the Heels close out the non-conference slate of the schedule. UNC's next action following this contest will be at Clemson and the start of the 18 game ACC schedule. As such, there could still be plenty of lineup experimentation ongoing to keep players fresh and to figure out what works before the value of the games jump up a notch.

William & Mary offers an intriguing challenge. The Tribe do not have a player under 6-4 but just two players at 6-9. In terms of size, William & Merry won't be necessarily overwhelmed by the Tar Heels. As UNC has, so farm put up one of the better numbers for three point percentage defense under Roy Williams, the Heels will be tested by William & Mary's Marcus Thornton and Daniel Dixon. Thornton has hit 40% of his 55 attempts thus far while Dixon is at 47% on 38 attempts. The Tribe have three players with offensive ratings of 112 or better and four players have an eFG% of 60 or better all against a decent strength of schedule.

On the offensive end, UNC is still searching for consistency, especially on the perimeter. Justin Jackson showed signs of life on Saturday hitting a pair of threes with Marcus Paige hitting one in between the Jackson makes. That led to a nine point offensive burst which pushed the lead over 20 points late in the second half. Such is the effectiveness of solid perimeter shooting. UNC is not heavily reliant upon threes but hitting them at crucial moments can really raise the offensive efficiency. In short, is Jackson's shooting from three something that will happen randomly or was Saturday the start of a more aggressive approach and consistent shot? The answer to that question along with Paige getting back to 2013-14 levels may decide how far this team can go in the ACC and postseason.

UNC 101 William & Mary 69