Previewing Akron

The 5-0 Tar Heels return to action on Sunday at the Smith Center against Akron, which features the sixth-ranked scorer in the country in Derrick Tarver [pictured]. Tip-off is at 1 p.m. and it will be televised by Fox Sports South.

North Carolina (5-0) vs. Akron (3-1)
Smith Center, Chapel Hill
Sunday, 1 p.m., FSS (Mike Hogewood, Bobby Cremins)

Roy Williams on Akron

"Derrick Tarver averages about 25 a game. Johnny Hollingsworth was one of the best players in the league last year. … They've got some good players and were picked to finish first or second in their league. All five starters – and the top seven – are back. It's a team again that we have to go out and be ready to play. The part of the game I'm concerned about the most is our rebounding and they've outrebounded all four of their opponents. So that's a big strength of theirs and it matches up with a weakness of ours."

Akron Pregame Notes

* Season to Date: Since an opening loss to Cincinnati, the Zips have cruised by Radford, Hampton and James Madison. In the loss to the Bearcats, Akron fell behind by 20 early and lost 88-66.

* Players to Watch: Derrick Tarver is the nation's sixth-leading scorer, at 24.8 points per game. The 210-pound guard, who was one of 10 finalists for the V Foundation's 2003 Comeback Award after being diagnosed with a heart condition and having a defibrillator implanted last fall, relies heavily on the foul line to generate points. He's not a great three-point shooter, and averages less than eight made field goals per game, but through four games he's connected on 40 free throws. Forward Jeremiah Wood [pictured right] is the top candidate for MAC rookie of the year honors, as he's off to a terrific start averaging nearly a double-double. Johnny Hollingsworth is a MAC Player of the Year candidate who averaged 17.4 points and 2.2 steals last season, but is off to a slow start due to personal off-the-court reasons.

* Everyone's Back: Akron returns its top six players from a year ago and has added five newcomers, led by Wood, who are all part of the team's regular rotation. This is a major reason the Zips are picked to finish in the top two of the conference.

* Force on the Boards: With a big guard in Tarver and a tall front line accompanied by a deep bench, the Zips have fared well on the boards this year, outrebounding all four opponents thus far and averages a +10.2 advantage.

* LeBron Connection: Freshmen Dru Joyce and Romeo Travis are graduates of Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where they played for all four years alongside current NBA phenom LeBron James.

* A First: This will be the first ever meeting between North Carolina and Akron.

Location: Akron, Ohio
Enrollment: 24,300
Conference: Mid-American
Nickname: Zips
Colors: Blue and Gold
Head Coach: Dan Hipsher
Record at Akron: 102-123

Probable Starting Lineup: 
   Dru Joyce (5-11, G, Fr.) – 6.3 ppg, 2.8 apg
   Derrick Tarver (6-4, G, Sr.) – 24.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg
   Jeremiah Wood (6-6, F, Fr.) – 12.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg
   Andy Hipsher (6-8, F, Sr.) – 11.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg
   Nick Myers (6-9, C, Jr.) – 3.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg
Key Reserves: 
   Johnny Hollingsworth (6-1, G, Sr.) – 7.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
   Rick McFadden (6-7, F, Jr.) – 5.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
   Matt Futch (6-8, C, So.) – 4.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg
   Romeo Travis (6-6, F, Fr.) – 2.3 ppg, 4.3
   Mario Collins (5-5, G, Jr.) – 2.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg
   Rob Preston (6-9, F, So.) – 2.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg

Akron Info

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