The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Greensboro Coliseum (22,025) -- Greensboro, North Carolina. Television: CBS. Home Record: Texas 7-0, UNC 5-0. Away Record: Texas 0-1, UNC 1-1. Neutral Record: Texas 1-1, UNC 1-2. Conference Record: Texas 0-0, UNC 0-0. Series Record: Texas leads, 3-2.
Rick Barnes' Longhorns have won eight of their first 10 games of the season and enter this contest having won two straight outings, including a 70-48 blasting of North Florida on Tuesday. It marked the team's 25th straight non- conference victory in Austin, although the team is just 1-2 this year outside the friendly confines of the Frank Erwin Center.
Roy Williams' Tar Heels are starting to find themselves and could be in for a strong run in the second half of the season. UNC enters this contest with a three-game win streak in tow and was last in action last weekend, posting a 96-91 shootout victory over Long Beach State.
Not many teams have a winning record against North Carolina but thanks to wins in each of the last three meetings, Texas is currently sporting a 3-2 series advantage.
The Longhorns have veteran leadership which has been able to harness the youthful talent on the roster at times. The result is a team that is getting it done at both ends of the floor, averaging 77.7 ppg, while allowing just 61.2. Sophomore Jordan Hamilton is starting to blossom and that isn't a good thing for the competition. Hamilton leads the team in scoring at 18.9 ppg, while grabbing nearly seven boards per outing (6.9). Senior Gary Johnson (11.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg) provides depth up front, as does freshman Tristan Thompson (11.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg). Yet another youngster, freshman Cory Joseph has proven to be both a scorer (11.0 ppg) and solid distributor (team-high 29 assists). Despite shooting a mere .349 from the field, Texas dominated the Ospreys last time out, holding North Florida to a .283 shooting clip, while hauling in an astounding 51 rebounds. Joseph led the way with 18 points, while Johnson posted a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds. Hamilton played just 18 minutes in the game, finishing with nine points.
North Carolina is also a team with balance. The team is paced by the frontcourt trio of senior Tyler Zeller (14.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg), sophomore John Henson (12.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and freshman Harrison Barnes (11.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg). In all, the Heels are averaging a steady 77.6 ppg and doing so on .469 shooting. Five Tar Heels finished in double figures in the team's barn-burner against Long Beach State last week. Barnes led the charge with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Leslie McDonald came off the bench to tally 17 points in 16 minutes of work. Dexter Strickland and Larry Drews II added 13 points apiece, while Zeller tacked on 10. UNC really shot the ball well in the game, finishing at a .562 clip, including .478 from behind the arc (11-of-23).
North Carolina is 113-29 all-time in the city of Greensboro. While the team won't have the typical advantage of being in the Smith Center, look for Zeller and company to get the job done against Texas here.