(23) North Carolina (8-2) at Texas (6-4)
Wednesday, December 19, 9 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Frank Erwin Center (16,540) -- Austin, Texas. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: UNC 5-0, Texas 5-0. Away Record: UNC 1-1, Texas 0-0. Neutral Record: UNC 2-1, Texas 1-4. Conference Record: UNC 0-0, Texas 0-0. Series Record: Texas leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: The 23rd-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels hit the road for a mid- week non-conference bout with the Texas Longhorns at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Tar Heels got back to work this past weekend following a long break for finals and outlasted a tough East Carolina squad, 93-87. With the victory, Roy Williams' squad moved to 8-2 overall and has now won three straight games after dropping two of three contests outside of Chapel Hill.
Rick Barnes' Longhorns have had their ups and downs this season and the result is a 6-4 overall record. Texas was able to end a brief two-game skid, losses to Georgetown and UCLA, with a 75-63 victory over instate foe Texas State this past weekend. It was the 14th straight non-conference win in Austin for the Longhorns.
These two teams are meeting for the fourth straight season. Texas holds a 4-3 series advantage overall, but North Carolina posted an 82-63 victory last season in Chapel Hill, ending a four-game win streak for the Longhorns in the series.
The Tar Heels took a 16-point lead into the break against East Carolina last time out, but had to fight tooth-and-nail over the final 20 minutes to earn a hard-fought six-point victory. UNC showed its scoring prowess, as five Tar Heels notched double figures in the win, led by James Michael-McAdoo's 19 points. P.J. Hairston added 18 points in 20 minutes of work off the bench. Reggie Bullock poured in 14 points, Dexter Strickland recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists, while J.P. Tokoto chipped in with 10 points.
A potent offensive squad, North Carolina is netting an impressive 84.4 ppg, doing so on 46.6 percent shooting. McAdoo has emerged as one of the ACC's top performers and leads the Tar Heels in both scoring (15.4 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg). Scoring depth is apparent, as three others are averaging double- digit points as well, with Bullock putting in 12.2 ppg, followed closely by Hairston and Leslie McDonald with 11.7 and 10.0 ppg, respectively.
It wasn't a strong offensive performance by Texas this past weekend, but despite shooting a mere .397 from the floor, the Longhorns were able to come out with a 12-point victory over Texas State. Javan Felix led the way and had a strong all-around game, netting a career-high 20 points, while doling out seven assists. Jonathan Holmes was equally impressive with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Julien Lewis and Sheldon McClellan chipped in with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Scoring points in bunches has not been a strength for Texas, which comes in averaging a modest 63.3 ppg. The main problem has been shooting efficiency, converting just 40.8 percent from the floor overall, including an ugly 29.6 percent from behind the arc. Although he is shooting only 38.6 percent from the floor, McClellan is still tops on the team in scoring at an impressive 15.3 ppg. Lewis boasts of the only other double-digit scoring average at 11.2 ppg. Felix adds 8.7 ppg to the cause, while doubling as the team's primary distributor (5.8 apg).
The Tar Heels certainly have the advantage in terms of offensive weapons in this contest. The Longhorns however get this one in Austin and will try to neutralize UNC's scorers with strong defensive play. In the end though, McAdoo is the difference.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina 71, Texas 66
12/19 10:41:39 ET