In their first game of the Hall of Fame Tip-off Tournament the Tar Heels will face the Richmond Spiders from the Atlantic10 Conference. The Spiders have traditionally been one of the top mid-major teams and is the only basketball program to win NCAA Tournament games as a 12, 13, 14, and 15 seed. They will look to return to the tournament after missing it the last two seasons following a Sweet 16 berth in 2011.
The Spiders are coached by Chris Mooney who is entering his 9th season at school and has led team to the postseason in 5 out of 8 seasons. This year’s team will be lead by the back-court of junior Kendall Anthony and senior point guard Cedrick Lindsay, while Derrick Williams will anchor a deep front-court rotation. Anthony is small at only 5-8 but makes up for it with tremendous scoring ability particularly from behind the arc where he connected on 42% of his shots last season. Coach Mooney thinks that Lindsay should be considered one of the top point guards in the nation and for good reason, last season the senior averaged 17 points over the Spiders final 11 games and is expected to compete for all-conference honors this year.
Just like Anthony, Derrick Williams is undersized for his position at 6-6 playing in the post but makes up for it by weighing 270 pounds and knowing how to throw his weigh around when healthy. He missed over month last season with an ankle injury which allowed Coach Mooney to develop some depth in the front-court and now the Spiders will the open season with 5 guys likely to see time in the post including potential breakout star Terry Allen and 6-9 sophomore Alonzo Nelson-Ododa.
Despite the depth in the front-court the Spiders biggest weakness last season was a lack of presence on the glass. They had rebound margin of -5.8 which ranked 331st out of 345 teams even their top rebounder Williams only averaged 5 a game and they average 28 per game as a team. The Spiders have the bodies to match the Tar Heels depth in the front-court but there lack of rebounding could prove to be the deciding factor in UNC advancing to the tournament final