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A look at Carolina, again

2009 February 18
by J. Curle
Rank and Records NCST UNC
RPI #90 #3
Strength of Schedule #87 #18
Overall 14-9 23-2
Conference 4-6 9-2
Home 12-3 11-1
Away 2-6 7-1
Top 25 1-4 4-1
RPI Top 50 2-7 6-1

Last game’s recap

This week’s ACCNow podcast:

Well, it’s that time…time to head over to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels for the second time this season.

No, Pack fans, the Heels — despite your fervent prayers and demands — have not fallen into the abyss. They’re still here, and still kickin’ ass.

(Continues)

There have been some changes to both lineups, though.

On the Wolfpack side, Sidney has gone so far as to say he’s pared his roster down to an eight-man rotation. This would be in stark contrast to the two-squad “line change” philosophy he employed earlier in the
year, but I think most agree it’s a welcome change. The strong frontcourt lineup of Smith-Costner-McCauley has been working extremely well, of late.

The Tar Heels, on the other hand, welcome back Tyler Zeller to the lineup after the rehabilitation of his broken wrist suffered at the beginning of the year. He represents yet another future pro that the Heels can throw at the Pack, and he’ll be eager to impress the home crowd in his return to the court.

The two weapons State will need to concern themselves with more, though, are Ty Lawson and Tyler (did Roy make a run on dudes whose name start with “T-Y” or what?) Hansbrough. Hansbrough, in particular, will be the bigger factor tonight. I know Lawson has been the ACC player of the year thusfar, and Tyler has had a down year by his standards, but there’s something about #50 that just loves to put a pounding on State. Hopefully Sidney will double him in the post this game, unlike last, to prevent him any easy baskets.

I have no grand illusions about State pulling out the upset. The line is 20, and even at my most optimistic I wouldn’t touch that spread (were I a gambler, which I’m not). But I do hope for a close game with plenty of fight from the Pack. Moral victories don’t mean squat, but learning to fight against the best will prepare this team for the stretch run of tough contests remaining (at Wake, at Miami) and the ACC tourney in March.

Speaking of fighting, don’t be surprised if Big Ben has a bit of a bull’s eye on his chest tonight. Regardless of how you feel about the hard foul on Mike Copeland at the end of the first game, there’s no doubt there was plenty of bad blood generated in that moment, and folks wearing baby blue — both in the stands and on the court — would love to see some retribution, in kind.

Long live rivalries!

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