Tar Heels vs Stanford: Preview, broadcast information and more


Unbeaten Tar Heels begin their west coast trip against Stanford on Monday

Following a stressful victory against Bucknell, the Tar Heels will fly out west to begin a four-game stretch on the West Coast.

The trip begins at Stanford, where the Tar Heels will take on the 3-1 Stanford Cardinal. Stanford, fresh off of a 14-point win against Northeastern on Friday, will be looking to pull the big upset.

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Last year, Stanford struggled throughout the season. They are coming off of a 14-17 campaign, which was Jerod Haase’s first season at Stanford. If the name sounds familiar, Haase was a long-time assistant under Roy Williams at UNC and Kansas.

So far this season, Stanford has mostly feasted on a weak schedule. Their toughest game so far was against Northeastern. Their only loss so far was a head-scratcher to Eastern Washington by six points at home.

These games on the west coast before an early season tournament are normally tough on the Tar Heels. If you can remember back to last year, before the Tar Heels played in Maui, they were locked into a battle with Hawaii on their home court.

The Tar Heels will have Joel Berry back for a second game, and hopefully he has shaken off all of the rust that showed in his first game. Roy Williams has not given an update on the status of sophomore Brandon Robinson, so he is likely questionable for this game.

After this game, the North Carolina will head to Portland, Oregon to participate in the PK80 tournament. Hopefully the Tar Heels can start the road trip off on the right foot.

One Stanford player to watch…

Reid Travis, a 6-8 forward, is the go-to-guy for Stanford this season. He plays a lot in the paint, but has also stepped out to shoot some threes for Stanford this year. He has attempted six three-pointers in four games, but has only made one.

Travis is averaging just over 21 points per game for the Cardinal, their leading scorer by more than nine points. He also gets his points at an efficient rate, shooting above 50% from the field this season.

He had his season-high 26 points in the opener against Cal Poly, and has hovered around the 20 point mark in every other game. But in order for Stanford to win, Travis will likely have to score more than his average of 21.

This will be a good test for Luke Maye, and the freshman UNC big men to try to contain Travis. They will need to bring it on the defensive end, just as much as they have brought it on the offensive end in the first two games.

If the young Tar Heels can contain Travis, it will make it much easier for North Carolina to win this game.

One UNC player to watch…

Kenny Williams, who has gotten off to a hot start from three this season, is shooting 50% from deep in two games. The Tar Heels will need him to do that, or something close to that, until Cameron Johnson gets back.

CHAPEL HILL, NC – NOVEMBER 10: Kenny Williams
CHAPEL HILL, NC – NOVEMBER 10: Kenny Williams /

With the way the UNC bigs are playing, it is imperative that Williams can continue to stretch out the defense. If not, the opposing defenses can collapse on Carolina’s big men.

But I also picked Williams for his defensive value, which is more important than his offensive value.

Williams will likely have to defend Isaac White, the starting shooting guard for Stanford. White is shooting 47% from three, and has already made ten this year in the team’s four games. He is a prime candidate to go off against the Heels.

If Williams can continue to provide his ten points on offense, but also shutdown White, it will be a success. The Tar Heels do not need Williams to score 15 points, but they do need him to be a lock-down defender.

Difference maker…

It seems to be the difference maker of the season, but it is once again rebounding.

The Tar Heels have been rebounding at a solid clip in the first two games, now it’s time to see if they can do it against a good opponent.

Stanford is a decent rebounding team. Haase likes to model his team after Roy Williams, and he does a good job of it. But the one key for Stanford is that they are big.  They have the size to match up with North Carolina. Stanford has four guys that play significant minutes that are 6-foot-8 or taller.

If Stanford can hit the glass, and keep the Tar Heels from getting offensive rebounds, it could be a long night for the UNC.

But if North Carolina continues to do its thing on the offensive glass, the Tar Heels should dominate.

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What you need to know

WHAT? North Carolina 2-0 (0-0 ACC) vs Stanford 3-1 (0-0 PAC-12)
WHEN? Monday, November 20, 2017 at 11:30 p.m. ET
WHERE? Maples Pavilion – Stanford, California
RADIO? Tar Heel Sports Network
ALL-TIME SERIES? Tar Heels lead series 10-0
PREDICTION? UNC 81, Stanford 72