Carolina earned a impressive 75-64 win over Notre Dame Wednesday night in the Smith Center, Cole Anthony shined scoring a UNC and ACC record 34 points in his college debut. What carried Carolina was it's defense against John Mooney, and it's effort on the backboards as they out rebounded the Irish 51-31. They have to take the things they did well, at carry it over to tonight's game on the road.
UNC-Wilmington scored a 103-82 win over Johnson & Wales, Tuesday night when the season got started. Jaylen Sims led the Seahawks who put 5 players in double figures, as a balanced attack is a staple of CB McGrath, who of course was mentored by Roy Williams. That brings us to why this game is being played. CB McGrath played for Roy Williams at Kansas, and coached him in Lawrence and Chapel Hill. 2 seasons ago McGrath left the the Tar Heels bench, to run his own program. Wilmington is still rebuilding, and is not yet ready to compete with a program like Carolina. There will be a lot of energy in the building tonight, as Trask Coliseum is officially sold out with the Tar Heels in town.
In a weird way the win over Notre Dame was very big for this team, as they try to build continuity, and more important confidence. They took a big step to answering the endless questions about this year's team, but will have to find a way to do it on the road, in a unique road environment. 3 things to keep your eyes peeled too tonight, during tonight's broadcast:
1. Cole Anthony's Second Act: It's going to be hard to follow up what he did in the Smith Center, but if this team wants to win him games he'll have to produce. After what he did in the second half, Anthony appears ready for the challenge. The most impressive he did the other night was set the tone on the defensive end, which isn't something you normally see out of a freshmen point guard. This will be his first game on the road, how he handles the atmosphere will be important.
2. Grad Transfers More Comfortable?: You could definitely notice that both Justin Pierce and Christian Keeling were affected by the talent, size and ability of Notre Dame. Christian never got into the flow of the game, and struggled handling the basketball. Justin didn't have a productive night scoring, but made up for it with 7 rebounds off the bench. Tonight the competition won't be as tough, and in playing in a smaller setting might even help these guys relax. With so much being asked of them, they need to get more comfortable and confident, as quickly as possible. Tonight is a good night to take that step.
3. Free Throws & Turnovers: Carolina really struggled in both aspects in the opener, as they committed 18 turnovers, and missed 7 foul shots. If they struggle to take care of the ball, and leave points at the foul line, it'll allow the Seahawks to hang around, which Carolina doesn't need.
Series Stats: Carolina leads the all time series between the two schools 4-0. Carolina hosted UNC-W a season ago, winning decisively 97-69.
UNC: 6th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency:112.9(4th). Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 88.4(12th)
UNC-W: 266th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 99.9 (178th). Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 108.4 (338th)
TV Info: Tonight's game will be televised on FloSports, with a tip time scheduled for 7 pm.
(Photo courtesy of Chapelboro.com)