Smith Center, Chapel Hill
8 p.m., RJ
Roy Williams -
"I'm always worried more about my team, but I think Old Dominion -- four of their top six guys back -- last year Carolina started out by making their first nine shots of the game, but with two or three minutes to play it's a five-point game. Even after starting out 9-for-9. Blaine Taylor their coach is a good guy and a good coach, so they'll be ready, they'll understand the significance and they'll be fired up.
"I've always felt that our 'want to' has got to match the other team's 'want to.' Ours has got to match theirs and protect our home turf, here. It's not the kind of game where we're going to go in trying to decide where we're going to eat after the game. We've got to go out there and play. When someone's got four of their top six back and played us well last year, we have to understand that old thing 'Expect everyone, fear no one.'"
"I think people's knowledge of us is truly limited. Alex [Loughton] has developed a lot since last season. Isaiah [Hunter] and Alex got plenty of starts a year ago, and we should see the benefits of that investment this season. They have vital game experience and a lot of minutes under their belts. ...
"If someone is overly concerned with starting, it could be counterproductive. We're going to be dressing 10 when we go to North Carolina, and those 10 will all very likely play. ...
"This is the difference between growing pains and building. The last couple of years, we'd been in transition. Now we're stacking the talent higher instead of putting out fires."
Player to Watch
Alex Loughton - 6-9, 235, So., F - A CAA All-Rookie selection a year ago, and voted to the preseason All-CAA Second Team this year, Loughton is one of the top frontcourt players in the conference. The Australian native posted 13 points and 8 rebounds against the Heels a year ago. With the departure of ODU's top players from last year (Ricardo Marsh and Rasheed Wright), Loughton will be expected to pick up much of the scoring load. Also keep an eye on two freshmen, Arnaud Dahi and Drew Williamson. Dahi is a super-athletic forward who has made waves in the preseason, while Williamson (voted the 2002 NC Male Athlete of the Year) had planned to walk-on at UNC this year until Matt Doherty left Chapel Hill.
Last Year's Meeting
Nov. 24, 2002 - Heels hold off ODU, 67-59
Background Location: Norfolk, Va. Enrollment: 19,500 Conference: Colonial Athletic Association Nickname: Monarchs Colors: Slate Blue, Silver & Light Blue Head Coach: Blaine Taylor Record at ODU: 25-31
Probable Starting Lineup: Troy Nance (5-9, G, Sr.) – 3.8 ppg, 4.4 apg Isaiah Hunter (6-2, G, So.) – 6.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg John Waller (6-4, F, Sr.) – 8.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 39% 3pt Alex Loughton (6-9, F, So.) – 8.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg Janko Mrksic (6-10, C, So.) – 1.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg Key Reserves: T.J. Waldon (6-4, F, So.) – 3.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg Kiah Thomas (6-4, G, Jr.) – 3.1 ppg, 1.6 rpg Drew Williamson (6-0, G, Fr.) – first game Arnaud Dahi (6-7, F, Fr.) – first game Valdas Vasylius (6-7, F, Fr.) – first game
Troy Nance ... John Waller