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2009-2010 UNC basketball
The Schedule (pdf file)
The Roster

The Results (click each game for an analysis)

11/09/09 Tar Heels 88, FIU 72

01/10/10 Tar Heels 78, Virginia Tech 64

11/11/09 Tar Heels 89, NCCU 42

01/13/10 Clemson 83, Tar Heels 64

11/15/09 Tar Heels 88, Valpo 77

01/16/10 Georgia Tech 73, Tar Heels 71

11/19/09 Tar Heels 77, Ohio State 73

01/20/10 Wake Forest 82, Tar Heels 69

11/20/09 Syracuse 87, Tar Heels 71

01/26/10 Tar Heels 77, N.C. State 63

11/23/09 Tar Heels 93, Gardner-Webb 72

01/31/10 Virginia 75, Tar Heels 60

11/29/09 Tar Heels 80, Nevada 73

02/04/10 Virginia Tech 74, Tar Heels 70

12/01/09 Tar Heels 89, Michigan State 82

02/07/10 Maryland 92, Tar Heels 71

12/05/09 Kentucky 68, Tar Heels 66

02/10/10 Duke 64, Tar Heels 54

12/12/09 Tar Heels 103, Presbyterian 64

02/13/10 Tar Heels 74, N.C. State 61

12/19/09 Texas 103, Tar Heels 90

02/16/10 Georgia Tech 68, Tar Heels 51

12/22/09 Tar Heels 98, Marshall 61

02/20/10 Boston College 71, Tar Heels 67

12/28/09 Tar Heels 81, Rutgers 67

02/24/10 Florida St. 77, Tar Heels 67

12/30/09 Tar Heels 87, Albany 70

02/27/10 Tar Heels 77, Wake Forest 68

01/04/10 Charleston 82, Tar Heels 79(OT)

03/02/10 Tar Heels 69, Miami 62

03/06/10 Duke 82, Tar Heels 50

03/12/10 Georgia Tech 62, Tar Heels 58

03/16/10 Tar Heels 80, William & Mary 72

03/20/10 Tar Heels 76, Mississippi St 74

03/23/10 Tar Heels 60, UAB 55

03/30/10 Tar Heels 68, Rhode Island 67

04/01/10 Dayton 79, Tar Heels 68

Frustrating end to a frustrating season

2010 UNC Season Preview
There's got to be a season after but this is no Poseidon
The defending NCAA champion North Carolina Tar Heels will look a lot different this year but they’ll once again be contenders in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the nation.
If Larry Drew can turn off the flash and be consistent in the mold of past team quarterbacks with NCAA rings Jimmy Black and Derrick Phelps; if Ed Davis stays healthy and lives up to his preseason All-ACC billing; if John Henson is as good as the hype that surrounds him and if the other young guys fit in well with the upperclassmen, this team can be very, very good.

Deon Thompson and Marcus Ginyard should provide senior leadership and lots of minutes. But there are at least 10 players who are expecting to see significant minutes also so we’ll have to see how the team chemistry goes and who Coach Roy Williams decides to use.

 “Nobody on this team has been asked to do it at crunch time or when the other team’s focus is on stopping them,” Williams said. “Deon, Marcus and Ed have seen a lot of playing time but they’ve never been the focus and that’s a huge difference.”

Ginyard says fans should expect this North Carolina team to have traits similar to other Tar Heel teams - talented, hard working, good attitudes and the ability to run up and down the court.

Key losses: Wayne Ellington, Bobby Frasor, Danny Green, Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson.

Returning lettermen: Marc Campbell, 6-0 senior guard; Ed Davis, 6-10 sophomore forward; Larry Drew II, 6-2 sophomore guard; Marcus Ginyard, 6-5 redshirt senior guard/forward; Will Graves, 6-6 junior forward/guard; Deon Thompson, 6-9 senior forward/center;  Justin Watts, 6-4 sophomore guard; Tyler Zeller, 7-0 sophomore center/forward.

Top newcomers: John Henson, 6-10 freshman forward; Leslie McDonald, 6-4 freshman guard; Dexter Strickland, 6-3 freshman guard; David Wear, 6-10 freshman forward; Travis Wear, 6-10 freshman forward.

Predictions: Second place in the ACC regular season; ACC tournament champions; NCAA Elite 8; 31-7 record.

Questions to be answered:

Considering that Hansbrough, Ellington, Green and Lawson are gone, aren’t the preseason expectations of the Tar Heels being ranked in the top five or six a little high? Yes and no. You’d think so but there is some experienced talent back and a lot of new talent plus… who are you going to put above them?

Can the Tar Heels repeat as national champions? Unlikely but it might even be tough if Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson were back. Champions rarely repeat or even get back to the Final Four.

How far can the Heels go then? They can go all the way but it’s more likely that they’ll be an Elite 8 type team. Tar Heel fans should be thrilled if the Heels can finish first or second in the ACC regular season, make it to the ACC tournament finals and go to the Elite 8. But wouldn’t it be fun if this team did make it to the Final Four? Expectations last year were to get to the Final Four and win it all. Sometimes it’s more fun to exceed expectations.

The Heels have lost most of their three-point shooters, where will the outside shooting come from and will it be sufficient? Coach Roy Williams says no one has stepped up. “So far we haven’t shown in practice that we have guys who can make a bunch of ‘em,” he said. But he added they’d need balance to open up the lane. Will Graves is a deadly shooter from beyond the arc but he’s gained 15 pounds at least partly due to a back problem. Can he last and can he stay out of trouble? He was suspended from the team last season. Freshman guard Dexter Strickland will need to be an outside threat sooner rather than later. John Henson is a big guy but can step back and pop a three. “We always love big guys, but I’ve got to have guards,” Williams said. “I need some perimeter players who know what they’re doing. This is the least experience and least depth I’ve ever had on the perimeter, so it’s a huge area of concern for us.”

How will the Heels be defensively? My guess is that Carolina fans will see more blocked shots than they’ve seen in a long while with Thompson, Davis, Henson and Zeller leading the way. Plus, Ginyard is one of the best defensive players in the league.

How important is Marcus Ginyard to this team? Very. In hindsight, the injury was a blessing for Tar Heel faithful. Carolina won the national title without him but this team can’t get anywhere close to the Final Four without him. He is a steadying force, the best defender, the team leader and the guy who will help mold the new guys in with the returners. He has a good attitude. "I never expected to be here still," Ginyard said. "But I have a golden opportunity here now that I'm excited about. There's no reason this team can't be thinking big." He said he looks at what last year's team accomplished as motivation rather than pressure.

By season’s end, what five players will have started most of the games? That’s tough to say at this point but my guess is Ginyard, Drew, Davis, Thompson and Henson. If Henson becomes more of sixth man in the mold of Davis as a freshman last year, then Graves will probably be the starter. Strickland may work his way into the lineup by January.

Who is the forgotten man? I’d have to say Tyler Zeller. He was the leading scorer in the first game of last season. Soon thereafter he was injured and did not come back until late in the season. He wasn’t very effective when he came back and his minutes did not increase. He is a McDonald’s High School All-America player with loads of potential. With numerous big guys available, his minutes may vary but my guess is he’ll be the first big man off the bench.

Is there anyone you think that could be a pleasant surprise to unexpectedly make an impact? I think that Justin Watts will come through with some important minutes at some point. Coach Williams had enough confidence in him late in the season to give him three minutes of playing time in the first half against Oklahoma in the South Regional finals last year as a freshman. I’m also curious to see freshman guard Leslie McDonald who Coach Williams says is a very good shooter who he hopes will become a great shooter.

Which Wear brother is better? David had slightly better numbers in high school but there doesn’t appear to be a lot of difference between them. When one gets tired, the other can come in and the other team might not even know it. After all, one is No. 34 and the other is No. 43.

© 2009 CB3media Cary, NC