Thursday's UNC Links

Today's Carolina links from around the ‘net.......

Carolina Basketball

North Carolina is as loaded as any college basketball team in the country heading into the 2011-12 season. Even coach Roy Williams, a noted nitpicker, will admit his team looks very good to him and appears capable of great things.
Tar Heels are good and could be great
The Winston-Salem Journal

In the midst of all the excitement surrounding North Carolina's season opener Friday against Michigan State (7 p.m., ESPN), which will be the first college basketball game to take place on an aircraft carrier, even the players themselves are wondering how the outdoor conditions — wind, cold, the setting sun — will affect the actual game. "I have so many questions about it," said sophomore Kendall Marshall, who said he has never even been on a boat before. "I feel like nothing's really making sense to me right now." Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said that the team isn't holding any outside practices before Wednesday's flight to San Diego, where the USS Carl Vinson is docked. UNC will hold a short practice Thursday and a shootaround Friday on the ship.
Neither rain, nor wind, nor setting sun to stay Heels
The Durham Herald-Sun

Dick Baddour never coached or played college sports. And during his first 20 years at North Carolina, when he worked in student affairs, the admissions office and the law school, he never considered a career in athletics. But Baddour often has said that at UNC, it's not just what you do but how you do it. So when athletic director John Swofford brought him into his department in 1986, Baddour just continued to do what he did best — build relationships.
Baddour looks to next chapter at UNC
The Durham Herald-Sun

This season's Final Four will be held in New Orleans, where UNC won national titles in 1982 and 1993. It returns five starters from a 29-8 team, and even Williams is willing to admit he sees similarities between this group and the veteran-laden one that overwhelmed opponents en route to the 2009 championship.
North Carolina basketball season preview
The Fayetteville Observer

North Carolina shot 32.8 percent from 3-point range last season, and that was with Leslie McDonald accounting for more than a quarter of the makes. He's out with a knee injury, meaning sophomore Reggie Bullock and freshman P.J. Hairston will be called upon to provide outside shooting when they enter the lineup.
3 Things to Know: North Carolina
The Fayetteville Observer

There are questions being asked that have never been asked before about a college basketball game. These are uncharted waters, a nautical reference entirely appropriate as North Carolina prepares for Friday's game against Michigan State on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson. The team got its first look at the aircraft carrier and its makeshift, open-air arena Wednesday, with still so many unanswered questions in the minds of players and coaches alike.
UNC to start season in strange waters
The Charlotte Observer

As the clean-up crews moved through the deserted stands of the Smith Center on Nov. 12 last year and the clock neared 10 p.m., Harrison Barnes was still on the court long after North Carolina's win against Lipscomb. The crowd that had watched the Tar Heels freshman score 14 points in his college basketball debut was long gone.
Sophomore Barnes grows into high expectations
The Charlotte Observer

A large storm taking shape in the North Pacific has slowed down and is no longer expected to bring rain or strong winds during the 'Carrier Classic,' the college basketball game that will be played Friday between Michigan State University and North Carolina on the deck of the carrier Carl Vinson. About 7,000 spectators, including President Obama, are scheduled to attend the contest, which will begin at 4:15 p.m. before a nationally televised audience. "Things are looking better for the game, and temperatures will be in the 65-69 degree range," said Mark Moede, a weather service forecaster. "Winds will be out of south-southwest at 10-15 mph. It now looks like most of the rain will arrive on Saturday."
Rain won't wash out 'Carrier Classic'
The San Diego Union-Tribune

Michigan State's players will get a feel for the scope of the event at hand when they board the USS Carl Vinson today in San Diego to prepare for Friday's Carrier Classic - a Veterans Day spectacle created to honor and give back to those who serve in the United States Armed Forces.
Spartans relish chance to honor military, play No. 1 North Carolina
The Lansing State Journal

Imagine a college basketball team with a thunderous forward who saw more joy in playing his second season on campus than being the first or second pick in the NBA draft. Never happen in 2011, right? College hoops is no more than a connecting flight. Imagine the same team with two other more improbable species: a junior forward and senior center. Straight fiction. Roy Williams does not have to imagine that situation. The North Carolina team he will take to San Diego to open the season Friday has inventory college teams are not supposed to have: at least three (perhaps four) veterans who decided they preferred playing Michigan State on an aircraft carrier to cursing the NBA lockout.
Heels' coach Roy Williams is one lucky guy
The Louisville Courier-Journal

JP Tokoto said when he decided to commit to the University of North Carolina last spring, it was a great relief. Now that he has made it official, Tokoto said he feels even better.
Tokoto Makes It Official, He's Headed South to North Carolina
The Menomonee Falls Patch

Nearly three decades after Kohler's Joe Wolf signed on the dotted line with the North Carolina Tar Heels, Menomonee Falls' J.P. Tokoto has done the same. The 6-foot-7 wing made his commitment to North Carolina official Wednesday, faxing his national letter of intent to coach Roy Williams in the morning.
Roy Williams likes what he sees in Menomonee Falls' J.P. Tokoto
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

You don't need to have someone tell you who the North Carolina Tar Heels are, because you already know. But sometimes the North Carolina Tar Heels need to have someone tell them about you. So it was for Linn-Mar's Marcus Paige.
UNC's Williams excited about future of Marcus Paige
The Gazette

Carolina Football

North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner has been held out of practice at the start of the week, but the Tar Heels expect him to be available a week from tonight at Virginia Tech.
Quarterback expected to be OK for Tar Heels
The Burlington Times-News

North Carolina safety Matt Merletti went in for knee surgery on Tuesday expecting the worst. He came out with the best possible news and a second chance at his senior season. Merletti, who injured his left knee during UNC's loss at Clemson Oct. 22, underwent arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to repair loose cartilage. Merletti had originally been diagnosed with ligament damage and was expected to be out for the rest of the season. There's no timetable for his return but there's a chance he might be able to play in the Tar Heels' bowl game in December.
Merletti could be back in December
The Charlotte Observer

Inside Carolina Top Stories