Previewing Long Beach State

Next up for North Carolina is Long Beach State, a senior-laden club that hasn't shied from the competition in its non-conference schedule. UNC will mark the fourth Top-25 road game for the 49ers this season. Tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN3.

North Carolina (7-2) vs. Long Beach State (4-4)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
7:00pm -- ESPN3 (Tom Werme, Nate Ross)


"These guys have been to Cameron Indoor Stadium. It will be their second time to North Carolina. They've been to Syracuse, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Notre Dame. In their four years they have been to pretty much every venue in the country besides this one. So we weren't happy just to be here. We expected to win today and we didn't get it done." – Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson following his team's loss at Kansas on Tuesday

"We'll have to play well. But we think we can win the game." – LBSU guard Larry Anderson on the matchup with North Carolina


Season to Date: Long Beach State enters Saturday's contest with a 4-4 record. The 49ers pulled the first big upset of the 2011-12 season over then-No. 9 Pittsburgh on the road, 86-76, on Nov. 16. Monson's squad also has victories over Idaho (69-61), Boise State (72-62) and BYU-Hawaii (79-43). LBSU has lost games to San Diego State (77-73, OT), Montana (73-71), No. 6 Louisville (79-66) and No. 14 Kansas (88-80).

National Recognition: Senior point guard Casper Ware became the first Long Beach State player in school history to be named to the John Wooden Award Preseason Top-50 List and quickly showcased why in leading his 49ers to the upset at Pittsburgh. In that game, the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder scored 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting and dished out six assists against just one turnover. For the season, Ware is averaging 17.0 points and 4.1 assists per game, while knocking down 86.0 percent of his free throws.

Force Down Low: T.J. Robinson is a rare luxury in college basketball because his head coach knows what he can expect from his senior forward on any given night – a double-double. The 6-foot-8, 205-pounder was one of just six players in Division I basketball to average a double-double in both the '09-'10 and '10-'11 seasons. Robinson is continuing that trend this season, averaging 14.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per outing. The West Haven, Conn. native became LBSU's all-time leading rebounder last week and earned Big West Conference player of the week honors after averaging 21.5 points and 13 rebounds per game.

12-Month Flashback: The last time these two programs met, Robinson and Ware combined for standout performances. Robinson scored a career-high 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds, while Ware added 22 points, 10 assists and four rebounds.

Seasoned Veterans: LBSU's first five includes four seniors – all returning starters – and junior college transfer James Ennis (10.3 ppg) who have combined for 343 career starts and 4,905 career points.

Short Rotation: Monson's rotation currently sits at seven players, with his starters averaging 32.5 minutes per game. Guard Mike Caffey (17.5 mpg) and forward Edis Dervisevic (15.3 mpg) are the only reserves playing more than five minutes per game.

Sketchy on ‘D': Despite solid offensive statistics (47.6 FG percent, 44th nationally), the 49ers have struggled in games this season due to poor defensive performances. Entering the Kansas game on Tuesday, LBSU ranked 186th in field goal percentage defense (42.7) and 196th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (33.9). Those rankings will likely drop after the Jayhawks connected on 54.2 percent (32-of-59) of their field goals and drained 46.2 percent (6-of-13) from long range.

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the 49ers, 96-91, on Dec. 11, 2010, at the Smith Center. Harrison Barnes led North Carolina with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Leslie McDonald knocked down five first-half 3-pointers on his way to 17 points. The 49ers rallied from 17 points down in the second half to UNC's lead to two points on three different occasions.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with LBSU, 1-0.

Projected Starters:
22 Casper Ware (5-10, 175, Sr.) - 17.0 ppg, 4.1 apg
21 Larry Anderson (6-5, 210, Sr.) - 15.0 ppg, 4.0 apg
11 James Ennis (6-6, 190, Jr.) - 10.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg
4 Eugene Phelps (6-7, 225, Sr.) - 8.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg
20 T.J. Robinson (6-8, 205, Sr.) - 14.4 ppg, 10.8 rpg

Top Reserves:
5 Mike Caffey (6-0, 170, Fr.) - 4.5 ppg, 1.6 apg
13 Edis Dervisevic (6-8, 250, Sr.) - 3.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg

Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Enrollment: 33,419
Conference: Big West
Nickname: 49ers
Colors: Black & Gold
Head Coach: Dan Monson (5th season)

Roster & Bios

Inside Carolina Top Stories