The Tar Heels will be on the road tonight for the first time under Hubert Davis, as they are traveling to Charleston, SC to take on the College of Charleston. Carolina is coming off a 94-87 win last Friday over Brown, to begin 2-0 for the 17th consecutive season. In their two wins this year, UNC has shot better than 50% from the field, and over 40% from behind the arc in both games, which has their head coach believes they are as good offensively as anyone in the country. While that may be true, they don’t yet have a defensive identity, which they hope to establish tonight.
The Cougars are off to a hot start, as they are 3-0 under their new head coach Pat Kelsey. Kelsey, who left Winthrop for Charleston this past off-season, is one of the most underrated coaches in all of college basketball, and it’s just a matter of time before he has a Power 5 gig. His team is averaging over 90 points per game, despite only having three players averaging double figures. Those two players are John Meeks who leads the way with 17.7 points, Brenden Tucker who averages 16.7, and Nick Farrar who averages an even 10 points. Not only are the Cougars one of the highest scoring teams in the country, but they also rebound the ball at a high level, averaging 52 rebounds per game, including 18 offensive rebounds per contest. To be a mid-major program, Kelsey can play as many as 11 deep, and they feel confident they can play with the Tar Heels.
Carolina’s non-conference schedule heats up later this weekend, as they are competing in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off classic in Uncasville, Connecticut. Tonight will be the first test for this team on the road, and even though Hubert Davis didn’t schedule this game, he knows how beneficial these types of games are. There's no debate that the Tar Heels, are the most talented team on the court tonight, but they are going to have to play well to win:
Defend: In the Loyola (MD) game, UNC showed in the first 7-8 minutes of the game, the type of defensive team they can be this season. They didn’t follow that up against Brown, which is why Hubert Davis says his team doesn’t have an identity right now. You usually find out the most about your team on the road like they are tonight. The Cougars aren’t an efficient shooting team, shooting just 41% from the field, and 33% from behind the arc, but that doesn’t mean anything. Caleb Love and R.J. Davis need to set the tone on the perimeter and contain the dribble much better than they did the other night.
Rebound: Two games into the season, the Tar Heels have yet to outrebound their opponent by double digits. The Cougars will easily be the best rebounding team they’ve played this season, as mentioned above they are averaging 52 total rebounds and 18 offensive rebounds. Hubert Davis hasn’t emphasized his team crashing the offensive glass like Roy Williams, but he knows he must limit the opponent to as few offensive rebounds as possible. Carolina is getting contributions from every player in the rebounding department, but tonight they’ll need Armando Bacot, Dawson Garcia, and Brady Manek to control the glass.
Get Kerwin Walton Involved: UNC has had both Caleb Love and R.J. Davis score 20 points or more in a game this season, and while they need them to build off their promising starts, they need to get Kerwin Walton involved. Walton is the team’s best shooter, and while he’s not in a slump, you want him in the rhythm of the offense, especially with the schedule about to toughen up. With that being said, Walton needs to earn his minutes, as he’s still a liability on the defensive end of the floor, and if UNC is getting the type of scoring they are getting right now, Davis will be reluctant to play him big minutes.
Series History: UNC owns a 5-3 mark against the College of Charleston, including a 79-60 win last year in Chapel Hill. The last time though the Tar Heels traveled to TD Arena, they were upset 82-79 in overtime back in 2010. The other two losses the Tar Heels have suffered to the Cougars, have both been in Charlotte.
UNC - 50th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 110.8 (17th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 96.1 (105th)
College of Charleston - 235th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 97.4 (213th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 102.7 (255th)
TV Info: Tonight’s game will be televised on CBS Sports Network, starting at 8:30 PM.
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