No. 14 Tar Heels battle Blazers

The No. 14 North Carolina Tar Heels will look to bounce back as they host the UAB Blazers for non-conference action at the Dean E. Smith Center.

UAB improved to 4-3 its last time out with a 75-55 rout of Troy on the road. However, the Blazers dropped two games in a row to Illinois State (77-65) and TCU (76-73) in the South Padre Invitational prior to their triumph over the Trojans. In its only action versus a ranked opponent this season, UAB suffered a 77-60 setback at Creighton. First-year head coach Jerod Haase has injected his up-tempo system into the program which has yielded an average of 76.6 ppg. UAB generated just 60.5 ppg last season. However, the Blazers held their opposition to 61.5 ppg in 2011-12, but this season they are giving up 68.1 ppg.

The Tar Heels will look to recover from the 83-59 thrashing they took from No. 1 Indiana at Assembly Hall on Tuesday. Coach Roy Williams guided his team to four straight double-digit wins to open the season before it was surprised by Butler (82-71) in the Maui Invitational. UNC gathered itself and ran past Chaminade the follow day, but that momentum did not travel to its ACC/Big Ten Challenge contest. Overall, the Tar Heels average 81.6 ppg and holds opponents to 66 ppg. Their victories have been by an average margin of 28.8 ppg.

This will be just the third encounter between these schools on the hardwood. UNC holds a 2-0 lead after its 60-55 win in the 2010 NIT Quarterfinals. The first meeting took place in the 1986 NCAA Tournament.

This matchup will feature an apprentice versus the master aspect. Haase played for Williams at Kansas from 1994-97 and then served on his Jayhawks' staff from 1999-2003.

The magic number for UAB this season has been 75, as it is 4-0 when it scores that many points, but winless in the three games it has failed to do so. The Blazers just reached 75 their last time out by shooting 44.1 percent from the field including 9-of-25 from beyond the arc and also converting 14-of-15 at the charity stripe to cruise past Troy. They also held an impressive 45-29 edge in the rebounding battle in the contest. Jordan Swing and Robert Williams scored 18 points a piece, while Rod Rucker recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Swing (14.1 ppg) is narrowly ahead of Rucker (14 ppg) on the team's scoring leaderboard. Big man Fahro Alihodzic (10.6 ppg) is an effective finisher around the basket as well.

The Tar Heels were clearly not in the same league as the Hoosiers in their last outing, but UNC is showed early on this season it is still deserving of a spot in the top 25. Through seven games, the team is shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from three-point range. It is also outrebounding its opponents by an average of 6.8 rpg, but free-throw shooting has to be a concern. The Tar Heels have converted only 56.6 percent of their 113 attempts at the charity stripe. James Michael McAdoo is shining in his sophomore season with team-best averages of 15.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per contest. Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston, and Leslie McDonald are all lights out shooting from the wings. Dexter Strickland and Marcus Paige have done a decent job handling the ball, but the team lacks the interior toughness it had just a season ago.