Chapel Hill, NC – Expect a raucous crowd in Chapel Hill this ranked North Carolina Tar Heels welcome the Texas conference affair.
Texas got off to a rather disappointing 2-2 start this season, but has since ripped off six consecutive victories. Last Saturday, the Longhorns treated the Austin faithful to a 77-65 triumph over Temple. All six wins during the current streak have come by double figures for the 'Horns, who will begin Big 12 Conference play on January 4.
As for North Carolina, which opens the ACC portion of its schedule on January 7, it is fresh off a 99-49 romp over Nicholls State on Monday. That victory was the fourth in a row for UNC, which is now 10-2 overall and enters this evening's affair with a 7-0 home record.
Texas owns a 4-2 series lead over North Carolina, which includes victories in each of the last two meetings.
Since the first game of the season it has been obvious that J'Covan Brown is the go-to guy at the offensive end of the court for Texas. Brown has started all 11 contests and is averaging 19.3 ppg to go along with his 47 assists. He gets some help at the offensive end from Sheldon McClellan and Myck Kabongo, who are scoring 11.5 ppg and 10.8 ppg, respectively. Kabongo has dished out 66 assists to top the squad and also leads the way with 17 steals. Texas is generating 80.5 ppg while holding opponents to 62.5 ppg on 36.5 percent shooting from the floor. The 'Horns are also outrebounding foes by 5.6 rpg, key to their success. Against Temple last time out, Brown scored 23 points, while Kabongo added 18. Texas finished that game with huge edges in points from the foul line (23-10) and rebounding (48-23).
North Carolina may very well have the best frontcourt in all of college basketball, as the trio of Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson is awfully tough to manage. Barnes, who has NBA Lottery Pick talent, is scoring 16.1 ppg to lead the way, while Zeller checks in with 14.5 ppg and 8.2 rpg. Henson is averaging an identical 14.5 ppg and also provides 10.3 rpg and 41 blocked shots. One other player to keep an eye on is Kendall Marshall, as he has already handed out 122 assists while committing just 30 turnovers. UNC is netting 86.4 ppg overall while yielding 67.8 ppg to opponents, who are shooting a mere 38.3 percent from the field against the Heels. In Monday's romp over Nicholls State, UNC limited its overmatched opponent to 31.4 percent field goal efficiency while forcing 23 turnovers. Also worthy of note is that the Heels finished with a staggering total of 72 rebounds, and their 31 offensive boards almost matched Nicholls' rebounding total (35). UNC would have won by more if not for a disappointing 21-of-41 showing from the foul line.