Previewing Elon

The Tar Heels return from the holiday break with two more non-conference games before the start of the ACC season. First up is Elon on Thursday. Tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.

North Carolina (11-2) vs. Elon (7-4)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
7:00pm -- ESPNU (Jon Sciambi, Hubert Davis)


"It's going to be different, definitely. The only time I've been down there, on that other bench, was for Midnight Madness my junior year on either the ‘White' or ‘Blue' team, whichever team was down there. So it's going to be odd seeing it from that angle, for sure. But I think once the ball is tipped, and once we get going, we'll have plenty to handle with those guys, so I think it will snap me out of it pretty early on." -- Elon assistant coach Jack Wooten told's Robbi Pickeral on Wednesday


Season to Date: Elon enters Thursday's contest with a 7-4 overall record. The Phoenix toppled South Carolina, 58-53, in their second game of the season to jumpstart a stretch of seven wins in eight games. The lone loss during that run was an 82-67 loss to N.C. State in Raleigh. Head coach Matt Matheny's squad has lost two straight, however, in dropping games to Dartmouth (62-54) and San Diego State (81-55).

Post Presence: Lucas Troutman earned SoCon All-Freshman Team honors in 2010-11 after providing a strong inside presence for the Phoenix with 8.8 points and a league-best 1.5 blocks per game. The 6-foot-10, 215-pounder has continued that same level of play this season, averaging team-highs in points (12.6) and blocks (1.6). Troutman has played well against power conference opponents, scoring 14 points in the upset of South Carolina and posting 22 points and seven rebounds in the loss to N.C. State.

Failure to Protect the Ball: The Phoenix have struggled to limit its turnovers this season in coughing up 14.5 per game. Elon has committed more turnovers than assists of eight of its 11 games this season, resulting in a dismal 0.85 assist-turnover ratio.

3-Point Barrage: In the latest NCAA rankings, Elon is 31st nationally in made 3-point field goals (8.4) and 79th in 3-point field goal percentage (36.8). That percentage dropped to 35.9 after an 8-for-28 effort from long range in the loss to San Diego State. Sophomore guard Sebastian Koch leads the way with 25 treys to his credit and a 42.4 shooting percentage. Drew Spradlin (14-of-32, 43.8 percent), Austin Hamilton (14-of-39, 35.9) and Jack Isenbarger (18-of-54, 33.3) have aided Koch in delivering a balanced attack from deep.

Statistical Breakdown: Elon ranks 200th or higher in nine of the 18 statistical categories the NCAA tracks, including rebounding margin (minus-2.9), field goal percentage (41.6) and free throw percentage (66.5), while ranking in the top-100 in just four categories.

Familiar Face Back Home: Former UNC walk-on Jack Wooten returns to the Smith Center in his second year as an assistant coach to Matheny. The Burlington, N.C. native was a two-year letter winner for the Tar Heels and played on the '09 national title team. Wooten worked as Elon's director of basketball operations last season.

Last Meeting: North Carolina won at Elon, 57-48, on Dec. 2, 1950.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Elon, 17-4, and has won 10 straight.

Projected Starters:
10 Austin Hamilton (5-10, 180, Fr.) - 10.2 ppg, 3.0 apg
1 Drew Spradlin (6-5, 202, Sr.) - 9.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg
21 Ryley Beaumont (6-7, 215, So.) - 6.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg
24 Sebastian Koch (6-8, 190, So.) - 9.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg
31 Lucas Troutman (6-10, 215, So.) - 12.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg

Top Reserves:
20 Jack Isenbarger (6-2, 180, So.) - 10.0 ppg, 1.8 apg
23 Egheosa Edomwonyi (6-7, 235, So.) - 3.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg
44 Brett Ervin (6-7, 240, Jr.) - 3.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg

Location: Elon, N.C.
Enrollment: 5,916
Conference: Southern
Nickname: Phoenix
Colors: Maroon & Gold
Head Coach: Matt Matheny (3rd season)

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(Photos by US Presswire/Rob Kinnan)

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