Heel Primer: Previewing UNC vs South Carolina


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Date and Time: Friday, November 25, 2011 at 10:00 p.m. vs. South Carolina (2-2)
Date and Time: Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 10:30 p.m. UNLV (5-0)/USC (2-3)
Location: Orleans Arena Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: ESPN2/ESPN3 (Watch Online)

It’s the battle of the Carolinas!  As UNC takes on SC in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.  The Heels are coming off their first complete game  of the season in a 33 point stomping of Tennessee State Tuesday.  Carolina was on fire, hitting on all cylinders getting career nights from Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall to go along with their usual inside dominance.

Watching tonight’s game will be almost exactly like the rest of the games UNC has played thus far this season.  Carolina will dominate almost the entire game and put the game completely out of reach no later than early in the second half of the ballgame.  Roy Williams will get to play his entire team at least a few minutes and the Tar Heels will win by a minimum of 15 points, but it will be closer to 30 in the end.

The game inside the game is the real story tonight, I’ll dive into that after the jump

It’s easy to find yourself drifting when your watching a late night game between David and Goliath.  Watching Goliath just eat the opponent even if you are rooting for that outcome still isn’t all that exciting for very long.  For these types of games you’ve got to take your eyes off the scoreboard and focus on the long term picture of the team.  If you watch closely you can see it slowly develop right before you eyes.

Think of it like putting the piece of paper over the bottom right hand corner of your monitor at work so you don’t watch the clock.  UNC still has plenty of intriguing story lines to watch, many will be huge in the title chase.

I’m a huge NFL fan and one of my favorite things to hear about is the training camp battles that get so much attention in pro football, especially the QB controversies.  Only in most cases playing time battles it’s not that the team has 2 or more quality players at the position, rather that they don’t have any and can’t decide between the scraps they do have.

The battle between Reggie Bullock had had a career night vs Tenn St and freshman PJ Hairston is one of the more interesting battles in college basketball.  Both 5 star recruits coming out of high school, both known for their smooth silky jumpshot, both shooting guards stuck playing behind defensive specialist Dexter Strickland.  For now they are splitting minutes, as the season goes on and the tournaments near, Roy Williams is going to have to pick a favorite.

James McAdoo a top 5 recruit this year is playing behind John Henson and Tyler Zeller.  So far he hasn’t logged significant minutes, another test for Williams is fitting McAdoo into the rotation more and more.  His ability to shift to the small forward position for a stretch of that time may be the key to him being the teams 6th man or simply a glorified role player.

Heels fans looking for another championship this season these battles and the importance of setting a tone, settling on a rotation and building chemistry are the keys.  If you watch for those story lines early this season these games may turn out to be some of the most interesting of the year.

Keep It Heel

Twitter: @NN_Keepinitheel