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Previewing UNCG

After taking a few days off for Christmas, No. 7 North Carolina returns to the court for a matchup with UNCG on Monday night. Tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 6 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.

North Carolina (10-2) vs. UNCG (4-8)
Chapel Hill, N.C. – Smith Center
Monday, 6 p.m.
ESPNU (Roy Philpott, Dino Gaudio)

PREGAME NOTES

Season to Date: UNCG enters Monday’s contest with a 4-8 record. The Spartans opened their season with wins over Greensboro College and Chowan before losing five of their next six and eight of their next 10. Wes Miller’s squad picked up wins over Jacksonville and Belmont Abbey during that stretch, although it played well in road losses at Wake Forest (81-71) on Dec. 15 and N.C. State (58-52) on Dec. 22.

Locked In: Senior forward Kayle Locke leads the Spartans in scoring with 11.4 points per game, thanks in part to a strong effort in the loss at Wake Forest two weeks ago. The Baltimore, Md. product tied his career high with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including a 4-of-7 mark from 3-point range. That type of showing is not uncommon for Locke, who is averaging 14.7 points on 52.4 percent shooting in 10 games against ACC opponents.

White Emerging: R.J. White ended the 2014-15 season on a tear, averaging 15.7 points and 7.4 rebounds over his last seven regular season games. After a slow start to his junior campaign, the 6-foot-8, 280-pound center has picked up in December where he left off last March by averaging 12.5 points on 64 percent shooting (32-of-50) and 6.5 rebounds over his last six games.

Three-Point Barrage: UNCG ranks 56th nationally in made 3-point field goals per game (8.7) and 160th in 3-point field goal percentage (34.3). True freshman guard Francis Alonso paces the team with a 42.4 percent mark from long range, connecting on 28-of-66 attempts. Sophomore wing Marvin Smith has taken 63 3-pointers, knocking down 28.6 percent. Seven different Spartans have attempted at least 26 3-pointers through 12 games this season.

Offensive Woes: Despite the mild success from deep, UNCG’s offense has been slow and inefficient this season. The Spartans rank 310th in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to kenpom.com, due to a 45.9 percent effective field goal percentage (283rd), a 26.5 offensive rebounding percentage (272nd) and a horrid free throw attempt to field goal attempt ratio (16.8; 351st). Pair those statistics with a 55.1 effective defensive field goal percentage (315th) and the reason behind the 4-8 record becomes apparent.

Record vs. ACC: With last week’s loss at N.C. State, UNCG fell to 2-53 all-time against ACC opponents.

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Spartans, 79-56, at the Greensboro Coliseum on Dec. 16, 2014. Kennedy Meeks led UNC with 18 points and six rebounds, while Joel James tied his career-high with 11 points. The Tar Heels led by as many as 27 points in the first half and held the Spartans to 35.7 percent shooting.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series, 2-0.

Projected Starters:
1 Marvin Smith (6-6, 190, So.) – 9.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg
10 Francis Alonso (6-3, 185, Fr.) - 10.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg
13 Kayle Locke (6-5, 240, Sr.) – 11.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg
20 Diante Baldwin (6-0, 181, Jr.) - 10.8 ppg, 4.0 apg
33 R.J. White (6-8, 280, Jr.) – 11.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg

Top Reserves:
02 Asad Lamot (6-1, 185, Sr.) - 5.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg
11 Demetrius Troy (6-0, 187, Fr.) – 5.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg

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