Previewing MVSU

After a cross-country road trip to start the season, North Carolina gets its home opener on Sunday at 2 p.m. against Mississippi Valley State, in the first of two Las Vegas Invitational preliminary matchups.

North Carolina (2-0) vs. Mississippi Valley State (0-2)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
2:00pm -- Raycom Sports Network (Bob Rathbun, Mike Gminski)


"If you look at Sports Illustrated, Mississippi Valley State is picked to make the [NCAA] Tournament and that was a surprise to me. I'll mention that to them. We'll have a scouting report and we'll have some results by the time we play them. But I think most of the time my teams don't get really fired up or very down. Very seldom do I say we just weren't ready to play." – UNC head coach Roy Williams on his team being able to get up for MVSU


Season to Date: Mississippi Valley State enters Sunday's contest with a 0-2 record. The Delta Devils dropped their opener to Notre Dame, 80-67, on Nov. 12 and then lost to DePaul, 80-70, on Nov. 14.

Preseason Accolades: The Delta Devils were predicted to finish second in the preseason Southwestern Athletic Conference poll in October after a 13-19 (12-6 SWAC) record in 2010-11. Soprts Ilustrated picked MVSU to win the SWAC and claim an invite to the NCAA Tournament with four returning starters. Senior center Paul Crosby, hailing from Lansing, Mich., was named first-team preseason All-SWAC Southwestern after earning first-team all-conference honors in 2011, while fellow senior center Jason Holmes of Chicago was included on the second team. Holmes sprained his knee during the preseason and is expected to return in December.

Welcome Back: Another senior post player, Amos Sturdivant, has returned to the team after missing last season due to injury. He earned all-conference honors in 2009-10.

Balanced Scoring: Three different Delta Devils are averaging 12.0 points per game – senior guard Kevin Burwell, senior center Amos Sturdivant and senior forward Falando Jones. Burwell and senior guard Terrence Joyner (8.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) led MVSU against Notre Dame with 14 points each and Crosby (10.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg) scored 13 to top his team's scoring against DePaul.

Brutal Schedule: Twelve of the Delta Devils' first 14 games of the season are on the road against a host of power conference schools. In addition to the road contests at Notre Dame and DePaul to open the season, MVSU will depart Chapel Hill and travel to South Carolina on Tuesday for its second game in the Las Vegas Invitational. Also on the schedule are road games at Arkansas, Northwestern, Mississippi, Florida, Wisconsin and Iowa State.

NCAA and the APR: MVSU joins Mississippi's two other historically black universities – Jackson State and Alcorn State – in having growing concerns with the NCAA's adjusted Academic Progress Rate. Fourteen combined programs have multi-year scores below 930, including the MSVU basketball program. After four straight season at or above 930, the '08-09 and '09-10 seasons resulted in scores just south of 900 (895, 894). Penalties include a reduction of two scholarships, limited practice opportunities and public notice.

NCAA Tournament History: The Delta Devils have four NCAA Tournament appearances in school history (0-4). Their most recent trip to the Big Dance was in 2008, losing to UCLA in the first round, 70-29.

Quality Praise: Mississippi Valley State's official basketball site has the standard category links, including news, roster, statistics and schedule, but it also has one unique subheading entitled "Amazing Achievers." Unfortunately, there are no MVSU players listed on that page.

Series History: North Carolina and MVSU will play for the first time on Sunday. Roy Williams coached the '92-'93 Kansas Jayhawks to a 94-46 victory over the Delta Devils on Dec. 11, 1992 in Kansas City, Mo.

Projected Starters:
25 Kevin Burwell (5-10, 185, Sr.) Ð 12.0 ppg, 2.5 apg, 6.0 rpg
3 Terrence Joyner (6-3, 180, Sr.) Ð 8.5 ppg, 3.5 apg
23 Falando Jones (6-4, 212, Sr.) Ð 12.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg
12 Amos Studivant (6-8, 230, Sr.) Ð 12.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg
32 Paul Crosby (6-8, 245, Sr.) Ð 10.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg

Top Reserves:
21 Cor-J Cox (6-5, 190, Sr.) Ð 8.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg
5 Luka Pajkovic (6-2, 195, Fr.) Ð 3.0 ppg, 2.0 apg
11 Brent Arrington (6-2, 181, Fr.) Ð 3.0 ppg

Location: Itta Bena, Miss.
Enrollment: 3,767
Conference: Southwestern
Nickname: Delta Devils
Colors: Forest Green & White
Head Coach: Sean Woods (3rd season)
2010-11 Record: 13-19 (12-6)

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