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Previewing Appalachian State

No. 11 North Carolina returns home for one final game before Christmas break against Appalachian State. Tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.

North Carolina (9-2) vs. Appalachian State (2-8)
Chapel Hill, N.C. – Smith Center
Monday, 7 p.m.
ESPN2 (Dave O'Brien, LaPhonso Ellis)


Season to Date: The Mountaineers are 2-8 entering Monday's game. The losses have come in a variety of forms, including a one-point heartbreaker to Mercer and a 28-point thumping at the hands of UNC's most recent visitor, Tulane. Appalachian State’s wins came against Jacksonville and Liberty. Head coach Jim Fox’s second squad in Boone is currently on a five-game skid dating back to Nov. 27, which includes a 67-55 loss at Texas.

Eaves Leads: Senior guard Frank Eaves has been the catalyst for much of Appalachian State's offense this season. He is the only player on the team averaging double figures in scoring (20.8 points per game), and he leads the team in assists with 26 through 10 games. It's also worth noting that Eaves is a product of Greensboro, N.C. and is capable of draining 3-pointers. He's hit a team high 47.5 percent of his team-high 80 3-point attempts.

Defensive Struggle:The Mountaineers rank 329th in the nation in defensive efficiency, according to They've allowed 110.4 points per 100 possessions this season. Opponents are making almost 48 percent of their shots against Appalachian State, including 44 percent from 3-point range (345th nationally). This same defense will face the 17th-highest scoring offense in the country in UNC.

Rebounding Woes: If Roy Williams wants his team to feel better about itself on the boards, Appalachian State will give UNC an opportunity to dominate. The Mountaineers are ranked 295th nationally in rebounding. They are capable of crashing the offensive boards competently, averaging more than 11 offensive rebounds per game, but in whole, this is a team that struggles to extend its possessions or end opponents' possessions.

Stats Unkind: The NCAA lists 32 statistical categories on its team pages, and ASU ranks inside the top-150 in just three of them – 3-point field goals per game (8.1, 82nd), 3-point field goal percentage (39.1, 41st) and total 3-point field goals made (81, 115th). The Mountaineers rank north of No. 300 in 12 categories and higher than No. 250 in 20 total. Those statistics help explain their 2-8 record, and more importantly for UNC, highlight why they currently rank No. 343 in the RPI.

Last Meeting: Tyler Zeller scored 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in leading the Tar Heels past the Mountaineers, 97-82, at the Smith Center on Dec. 17, 2011. John Henson added 17 points as UNC shot 54.5 percent from the field and led by as many as 29.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series, 5-0.

Projected Starters:
21 Frank Eaves (6-2, 183, Sr.) – 20.8 ppg, 2.6 apg
10 Chris Burgess (5-8, 180, Sr.) - 9.6 ppg, 2.1 apg
02 Ronshad Shabazz (6-5, 212, Fr.) - 8.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg
05 Griffin Kinney (6-8, 237, So.) - 7.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg
04 Michael Obacha (6-8, 218, Sr.) - 2.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg

Top Reserves:
32 Tyrell Johnson (6-8, 200, Fr.) - 4.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg
11 Emarius Logan (6-2, 187, Fr.) – 4.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg
34 Jacob Lawson (6-8, 237, Sr.) – 4.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg

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