Dec 1, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Dexter Strickland (1) dribbles the ball against the UAB Blazers during the second half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: Previewing East Carolina

The 7-2 North Carolina Tar Heels take the court to face 6-1 East Carolina in the Dean Dome today at noon on ESPNU. The game will pit former UNC player Jeff Lebo against his former coach Roy Williams who was an assistant on the Heels staff during Lebos playing days and assistant coach Hubert Davis was a teammate of Lebo’s during the 1988-89 season.

The Tar Heels will face a seasoned team when ECU comes to town, of the Pirates top eight players only six are either juniors or seniors with just one freshman and one sophomore. This team plays like an experienced group ranking seventh in the nation in assist to turnover ration (1.56) they defend well and are in the top 30 in the nation in scoring at 79.1 per game.

The Pirates are led by Maurice Kemp, Shamarr Bowden and Miguel Paul. Kemp is a force in the paint at 16.7 points per game and 8.1 rebounds while Paul leads All-Conference USA at 5.9 assists per to go along with 15.2 ppg. Bowden meanwhile has one of the nations best assists to turnover ratios at 5.8 per contest.

ECU has never defeated a ranked team on the road and has lost 18 in a row against ranked opponets overall. The last time these two teams met was in 1993 the Tar Heels defeated the Pirates, 85-65, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament’s East Regional. This will be just the third time these two teams have faced off with the Heels leading the all time series 2-0

This game shouldn’t be anything other than another December blowout but UNC fans will have plenty to watch including who starts at center with freshman Joel James starting the last two games, sophomore Desmond Hubert with six starts under his belt and freshman Brice Johnson also having a start to his name to go along with a coach who is non committal as to whom his starting center will be for the rest of the season.

The Heels had a week to get healthy after several players suffered injuries over the last couple weeks and project to put their full roster on the court for the first time since Maui.

Tags: East Carolina Pirates North Carolina Tar Heels

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