Previewing Cleveland State

The new-look Tar Heels, fresh off a close season-opening win over the weekend, play host to Cleveland State on Tuesday night. Tip-off at the Smith Center is scheduled for 9 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPNU.

North Carolina (1-0) vs. Cleveland State (0-1)
Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
9 p.m., ESPNU


Series History: This is the third straight year that the two schools have played each other and the third meeting overall. On Nov. 29, 2003, hometown hero Jawad Williams' late three-pointer and 24 total points prevented an upset in Cleveland and the Tar Heels survived, 82-76. Last season was a much different story, as the Dec. 30, 2004 game was out of reach for the Vikings shortly after the Smith Center tipoff. Six Tar Heels scored in double-digits in the 107-64 rout.

Preseason Expectations: Few expect head coach Mike Garland to have much success in his third season at Cleveland State. Three starters are gone from last season's 9-17 squad, and they just so happen to be the three players who saw the most minutes last season -- including leading scorer and rebounder Omari Westley. The Vikings are picked to finish eighth in the Horizon League this season.

Glass Half Full, Bench Completely Full: Despite the personnel losses, Garland has an optimistic outlook on the season. CSU lost some key players, but Garland says the improved depth will more than make up for it. In fact, he's got 18 players on the bench, 14 of which will be available Tuesday night.

To fit his fast-paced style, Garland played all 12 eligible scholarship players in the season opener, nine of which saw double-digit minutes. "If we don't have the ability to rotate as many as 14 players throughout the game, then we won't be able to sustain pressue," Garland said.

Most Touted: Raheem Moss, a 6-5 junior, earned the most preseason recognition as a second team All-Horizon League selection. He averaged 12.8 points last season, doing most of his damage from beyond the arc, shooting 39.9 percent.

Tough Start: The Vikings opened their season at home on Saturday against Florida A&M with a disappointing result. CSU committed 22 turnovers and shot 10-of-31 on three-pointers in the 68-66 loss. "We weren't patient enough," said junior point guard Victor Morris. "Sometimes teams play zone to trick you into taking the 3." Morris led the team with 16 points (3-6 3pt), while Frashon McGee and Raheem Moss both had 11 points and 6 boards. One of last season's top perimeter shooters, Steve Gansey, struggled with a 2-of-13 (1-9 3pt) shooting night.

Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Enrollment: 16,326
Conference: Horizon League
Nickname: Vikings
Colors: Teal, Forest Green & White
Head Coach: Mike Garland
Record at CSU: 13-45

Projected Starters (with 04-05 stats):
 3 Victor Morris (6-1, 188, Jr.) – 5.1 ppg, 2.0 apg
32 Steve Gansey (6-3, 195, So.) – 5.3 ppg
34 Raheem Moss (6-5, 223, Jr.) - 12.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg
33 Frashon McGee (6-7, 240, Sr.) – 5.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
21 Patrick Tatham (6-8, 230, Jr.) - 8.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg

Key Reserves:
35 J'Nathan Bullock (6-5, 240, Fr.) – Flint (Mich.) Northern
 3 Carlos English (5-8, 157, Jr.) – Flint (Mich.) Mott C.C.
11 Bahaadar Russell (6-2, 160, Fr.) – Phoenix (Az.) S. Mtn.
30 Justin Henderson (6-8, 260, Sr.) – 4.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg
45 Renard Fields (6-7, 204, Fr.) – Chatham (Va.) Hargrave

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