Where: Bobcats Arena, Charlotte, NC
When: Wednesday, November 14th, 7:00 PM
Records: UNC 0-0; Davidson 1-0
So it begins.
Not that UNC season openers have been that indicative of the season after it. In 2005 it was Santa Clara who upset the Heels with Raymond Felton out for one game. A 2006 opening win over Gardner-Webb needed a David Noel three with one second left to break a tie and last season UNC went to Charlotte and trailed Winthrop at the half before pulling away late. [Correction: As a reader has pointed out, Winthrop was the second game of the season last year. The first was versus Sacred Heart which UNC won by 22 but only lead by five at half against a NEC team that finished 18-14] So openers have been tough deals in the Roy Williams era and this game is by no means a cakewalk. Davidson is a very good low mid-major team probably as good as Winthrop last year. This basically means that in the first game of the season we will see if the lessons of last season have been adopted.
Questions about defense, perimeter shooting, intensity/focus, killer instinct and putting together a complete effort have been asked repeatedly since the loss versus Georgetown. This game is as good a test as any to see if there are early answers to those questions. Davidson is a well coached team and features guard Stephen Curry, son of former NBA player Dell Curry. If Roy opts to have Wayne Ellington guard Curry it will not only be a good test for the sophomore guard but for the defense in general as they work on the team defense I am convinced was not as strong as it could have been last year.
It will be interesting to see how the offense flows given the lack of good three point shooting through the exhibitions. I am beginning to think that while some perimeter shooting is needed, UNC will simply pound the ball inside until someone decides to do something about. In that respect the offense could be a work in progress early on but I will be anxious to watch how well they execute on the offensive end. I also think it will be extremely important for this team to show that they can come out and play a high level of basketball from the start in part because they really need to exorcise that demons of last season but mainly because Davidson could be a handful if they do not make every effort to handle them early on.
For me this is the most anticipated season opener since 2005 mainly because of the talent and makeup of the team but also because this season is very much about the quest to redeem the end of last season and produce a national championship. And it cannot come quick enough.
I knew I was forgetting something!
UNC 92 Davidson 70