What: ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Where: Value City Arena, Columbus, OH
When: Wednesday, November 28th, 9:00 PM
Records: UNC 5-0; Ohio St. 4-1
The key question is whether Ty Lawson plays or not. I have written, possibly way too many times in the past 72 hours, that I think Lawson sits. This game is not worth risking the season if he aggravates the ankle or turns it into some kind of long term issue. If this were a crucial ACC contest and he is at least 80% then I would play him but for this one I see no need. Bobby Frasor should do well enough in his stead at this point. Granted this means the offense needs to adjust some and slow down a bit to accommodate Frasor and Quentin Thomas running the point. You also have to wonder where the penetration is going to come from if Frasor/Thomas can be contained in this respect but nothing else about the offensive execution should change too much. It is still all about Tyler Hansbrough and Wayne Ellington with guys like Danny Green and Deon Thompson in support. And if the offense can be productive the game really rests on the defensive end where UNC has been statistically good but a bit lacking in handling certain situations early on.
The Heels get a rematch game with the Buckeyes who have huge gaping holes in their lineup where guys like Greg Oden and Mike Conley used to be. Jamar Butler has stepped into the void as has Kosta Koufus, a seven foot freshman who will do his best to match the production from Hansbrough. The bottom line is the Buckeyes are talented but young. This will be an extremely hostile environment and a tough test for the Heels who should enjoy enough advantages to win whether Lawson plays or not if and only if they put in the effort rebounding and playing defense.
UNC 82 OSU 76