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Carolina March Pre-Game Q&A

UNC SBN site Carolina March was kind enough to answer some questions for us in anticipation of this afternoon's roundball matchup. Be sure to come over here for some open thread action!

If you could pick up one former player from all of Roy Williams previous UNC squads to help this year's team, who would you pick up and why?

Tough call. Tyler Hansbrough's an obvious choice, as is Ty Lawson or Raymond Felton, although UNC's point guard problems are overemphasized. The past player everyone's been looking for this season, however, is David Noel, the seventh man on the 2005 championship team who became the senior leadership on the 2006 team after everyone went pro. He really stepped up his game that season and became he go-to guy in tight game situations, which gave the then-freshman Hansbrough, Danny Green, Marcus Ginyard and Bobby Frasor a chance to grow into their roles. No one has really done that for this team this year, and the're sort of floundering because of it.

The Tar Heels have now lost 2 of their last 3 with one loss coming at the hands of College of Charleston and Bobby Cremins. Were the Heels hyped up a little too much this preseason?

Oh, definitely. And most UNC fans were saying it at the time. Carolina lost four starters to the NBA, and was bringing in five freshman and a sophomore who spent most of the season injured into the mix. I think since the advent of the one-and-done rule, folks have been overrating a lot of teams with good recruiting classes, because they always focus on the couple of sensational freshmen who succeed every year. (Georgia Tech falls into this category as well, and I think they'll finish lower than the ACC preseason poll has them.)

Who has been the surprise player this year and why should we look out for him on Saturday?

Dexter Strickland. He didn't even play point in high school (he's a two guard) but has stepped up and is running the point when Larry Drew is out of the game, and sometimes doing a better job of it than the starter.

What are the post season goals of the Tar Heels?  Are they different than your preseason expectations?

My expectations have always been on the level of the last team to follow a national championship and the resulting exdodus, the 2006 squad. The lost in the second round of the NCAA's. The goal, however, is always an ACC championship and a Final Four, but they won't get that this season.

Who will be matching up with Tech down low against Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal on Saturday?

They'll throw a lot of bodies at them – UNC has six players 6'9" or taller, although Tyler Zeller is out the next six weeks. You'll mostly see Deon Thompson and Ed Davis on them, although Travis Wear also got more playing time in Zeller's absence. John Henson will be on them as well, as he has a great shot-blocking ability and is improving his help defense in particular.

Would UNC fans trade a losing season in basketball (including two losses from the Dookies) for a BCS Bowl win next season?

No way, no how. An undefeated season and a championship, maybe, but a BCS bowl win? I can't even name everyone who won BCS bowls last year. Bowl victories are pretty unmemorable, outside of the teams involved.


For anything involving UNC, be sure to check out Carolina March. Go Jackets!