Previewing Sacred Heart

North Carolina's 2006-07 season begins Tuesday night, as the Tar Heels travel to Charlotte for the NIT Season Tip-Off. The first-round opponent is Sacred Heart, and tip-off at the Bobcats Arena is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.

North Carolina (0-0) vs. Sacred Heart (0-1)
Charlotte, N.C. - Bobcats Arena
7 p.m., ESPNU


* Sacred Heart opened its season last Friday with a 70-68 loss at Fordham. The Pioneers shot just 17-of-29 from the free throw line and committed 17 turnovers, otherwise they could have beaten a decent Atlantic 10 opponent. Fordham proved itself on Monday night by losing by single digits to No. 24 Tennessee.

* SHU finished 11-17 last season and graduated its top scorer and rebounder. Jarrid Frye, a 6-3 senior wing, is being looked upon to fill the role of go-to scorer.

* After tallying 16 steals against Fordham, SHU appears to be solid defensively on the perimeter. Point guards Tavio Hobson and Chauncy Hardy combined for nine of those steals.

* Last season, SHU was an unimpressive 31 percent three-point shooting team, though they shot from beyond the arc at a 43-percent clip in the season opener. Shooting guards Luke Granato and Drew Shubik are the team's most active three-point shooters. Granato hit seven threes in a game last season.

* Hobson, the starting point guard, is a transfer from Boston College, where he played two seasons as a walk-on.

* SHU's post play is a major concern this season. Frye, at 6-3, is the team's top returning rebounder. Starting 7-0 British center Liam Potter averaged only 1.1 points and 1.1 rebounds last season.

* Sacred Heart played two ACC opponents in non-conference contests last season, losing by six at Miami and by 11 at Boston College. This is the first ever meeting with North Carolina.

* The Pioneers are relatively new to the Division I ranks. They became a Division I school in 1999 by joining the Northeast Conference.

* Head coach Dave Bike is now in his 28th season at Sacred Heart, with over 400 wins on his record. He led the Pioneers to the Division II national championship in 1986 and was named the NABC Coach of the Year that season.

Location: Fairfield, Conn.
Enrollment: 3,200
Conference: Northeast Conference
Nickname: Pioneers
Colors: Scarlet & White
Head Coach: Dave Bike
Record at SHU: 428-387
Last Year: 12-16 (8-10 NEC, 10th)

Projected Starters (with 05-06 stats):
51 Tavio Hobson (6-0, 185, Sr.) – 6.3 ppg, 4.1 apg
50 Drew Shubik (6-4, 205, Jr.) – 8.6 ppg, 3.2 apg
12 Jarrid Frye (6-3, 190, Sr.) - 16.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg
21 Ryon Howard (6-6, 225, Jr.) – 2.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg
32 Liam Potter (7-0, 230, So.) - 1.1 ppg, 1.1 rpg

Key Reserves:
22 Chauncy Hardy (6-0, 170, Fr.) – Middletown (Conn.) Xavier
 2 Ryan Litke (6-3, 190, Fr.) – Windsor (Conn.) High
33 Luke Granato (6-6, 210, Jr.) – 6.5 ppg
34 Gene Pettway (6-6, 190, Jr.) – 3.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg

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