Dec 22, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard P.J. Hairston (15) scores. The Tar Heels defeated McNeese State 97-63 at the Dean E Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Four Corners: UNC Heading Into League play

1. Heading into Saturday’s game with UNLV North Carolina has been criticized more being soft on defense however the Tar Heels can begin to erase this perception when they tangle with UNLV big man Anthony Bennett.  Bennett who is making his case for freshman of the year is averaging 19.4.  Can James Michael McAdoo match up physically with Bennett? He should be able to, but this is an area everyone watching will want to see.  An area that goes unnoticed in helping defend the post is the ball pressure by UNC guards on the perimeter.  Marcus Paige and Dexter Strickland need to be active to cut down on passing lanes to limit Bennett’s touches in the paint.

2.  Which UNC team will show up Saturday?  The one that averages over 80 points a game and dishes out 23 assists or the one during recent losses that barely averages 65 points and is only handing out 1o assists.  The Tar Heels need to be active and look to be aggressive when it comes available within the offense.

3.  Is this the game that PJ Hairston finally breaks out and becomes the explosive player North Carolina needs heading into ACC play?  We know Hairston can shoot and has the ability to rebound.  What has troubled Hairston is his shot selection at times and settling for jump shots when driving lanes are available.  Easy buckets can sometimes boost a players confidence and driving to the basket creating free throw opportunities is just what the sophomore needs to build his confidence as a go to scorer for UNC.

4. Erik Green is quietly building a case for an early candidate for all ACC and even talk has started for a run at ACC player of the year.  Virginia Tech in all likelihood will not win the ACC, but Greens play may propel them into the top three or four teams with a possible NCAA tournament bid.  In case you have a chance to take in a game with Virginia Tech I highly suggest it because Erik Green is having one of those seasons that is exciting for an NCAA hoops team.  James Johnson has Virginia Tech playing well and Erik Green is the main gog for their success.  His numbers are expected to dwindle as league teams will game plan against him, but even facing double teams and having schemes to focus on him he has played some exciting basketball thus far in non conference play.  He doesn’t have a lot of help to take the pressure off of him which makes his success even more impressive.

As always you can follow the Haley and MandMsportshow on twitter @MandMSportshowand you can read more articles from Haley at The Water Cooler.


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