Last Friday North Carolina basketball kicked off the season with “Late Night with Roy”, tonight the squad, or at least part of it, will begin its campaign with the one and only exhibition of the season, as #12/#11 Carolina will host UNCPembroke at the Dean Dome with tip off time being 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will not be televised and the only way to see it if not live is with the GoHeels.com stream, for which you will need a subscription for.
Head coach Roy Williams will not have P.J. Hairston, Leslie McDonald and J.P. Tokoto for this game. Hairston and McDonald will be sitting out as they await the NCAA to decide on their situations, while Tokoto will not dress due to him playing in a summer league game without having the proper paper work filled out. Yes, I said that, really!
This game should not be much of a problem for a Tar Heel squad that will be a lot bigger and stronger than its opponents inside. I am sure that the coaching staff will be a lot more concerned with how the available players fare as a unit, since both Hairston and McDonald might be out for a while and what you see tonight (plus Tokoto) is what you might see for part, if not most, of the out of conference schedule.
A few days ago the NBA began with fourteen former North Carolina basketball players in action, now it is time for the current ones to begin their season, and how does that old saying go about first impressions? Well that is exactly what the Heels will be doing tonight at home.
With many questions to be answered, some on the court, like can coach Williams play a lot of double point guard with both Marcus Paige and Nate Britt in the back court or will Kennedy Meeks or Joel James be the man in the middle for UNC. And of course the ones that have been following this squad off the field, such as at what point will the squad have its two guards back. These forty minutes might not give all, if any, of the answers, but it will be what a majority of the fan base has been waiting for… the arrival of the North Carolina basketball season.
The one question I have about this squad is about James McAdoo… will the junior be what most thought he would be last season? If the answer is yes, which I do believe it will be, this could be an amazing season for the 6’9″ forward. With who he works best of the big men in the middle might go a long way in seeing which of the two will get the starting nod.
With just a few hours before tip off, with a brand new ACC schedule, as three new programs join the conference, with Duke and Syracuse in the Top 10 and two more squads in the top 25, 2013-14 is the beginning of yet another adventure for this storied program. And while there will be bumps in the road, especially while waiting for the return of the two perimeter players, this team, when fully available and healthy, has the talent and maturity to do plenty of damage in conference play and the post season.
Ah, yes, a prediction… a lot to a little, with the Tar Heels making this a bit more than a glorified practice.