Previewing Kent State

The Tar Heels start the new year undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country, and will face a quality mid-major program in Kent State. Tip-off at the Smith Center is at 8 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPN.

North Carolina (13-0) vs. Kent State (10-2)
Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
8 p.m., ESPN (Mike Patrick, Len Elmore)


Season to Date: Kent State enters Wednesday night's contest with a 10-2 record and a No. 37 RPI rating. The Golden Flashes have won seven straight games, and are now 6-1 against teams ranked in the top 125 of the RPI (wins against Hampton, Illinois State, Saint Louis, UNC-Greensboro, George Mason, Cleveland State and a loss to Xavier). KSU is shooting 47.9 percent from the floor (39.4 percent from long range) while holding their opponents to 61 points per contest on a 41.6 field goal percentage. North Carolina is the fifth team KSU (3-1) has faced this year that was picked to win its league.

Valuable Depth: Senior posts Mike Scott (14.7 points, 6.9 rebounds per game) and Haminn Quaintance (9.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg) lead a deep KSU squad this season, with sophomore Chris Singletary's 7.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game coming off the bench. The Golden Flashes have nine players averaging at least 15 minutes per contest, and head coach Jim Christian's bench has outscored its opponent's bench in 10 of the 12 games.

Junior College Gem: Al Fisher arrived on campus from Redlands Community College in Oklahoma this past August with an odd twist – his new head coach had never seen him play. Christian respected Redlands head coach Steve Eck's opinion enough to bring the junior guard in on faith, and the Pennsauken, N.J. native has not disappointed. Fisher was named the MAC East Player of the Week for the second time this season on Monday after posting 15 points and 10 assists in the win over Cleveland State. He is averaging 11.5 points and 4.8 assists per contest.

History of Success: Since the start of the 1998-99 season, Kent State has posted a 220-84 record and is 14th nationally over that span with a .724 winning percentage. Additionally, KSU is one of just nine Division I programs to win at least 20 games in each of the last nine seasons. The Golden Flashes are also one of just seven teams to post at least 10 conference victories during that same span.

Last Meeting: National Player of the Year Phil Ford led North Carolina with 20 points as the Tar Heels defeated Kent State 92-59 on Feb. 15, 1978 in Chapel Hill.

Series History: North Carolina owns a 2-0 record against Kent State, with both wins occurring in Chapel Hill. The first meeting between the two programs took place on Dec. 6, 1967. The Tar Heels won 107-83, but not before KSU Hall of Famer Dave Grayson set an NCAA record with 16 consecutive field goals before finishing with 41 points on 18-of-19 shooting.

Location: Kent, Ohio
Enrollment: 36,000
Conference: Mid-American
Nickname: Golden Flashes
Color: Navy Blue & Gold
Head Coach: Jim Christian
Record at KSU: 120-53
Last Year: 21-11

Projected Starters:
 5 Al Fisher (6-1, 185, Jr.) - 11.5 ppg, 4.8 apg
32 Rodriquez Sherman (6-2, 185, So.) – 6.2 ppg
22 Mike McKee (6-5, 185, So.) – 8.6 ppg
21 Mike Scott (6-7, 190, Sr.) - 14.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg
 1 Haminn Quaintance (6-8, 220, Sr.) – 9.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg

Key Reserves:
 2 Chris Singletary (6-4, 225, So.) – 7.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg
 0 Rashad Woods (6-5, 235, Jr.) – 6.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg
34 Julian Sullinger (6-5, 235, Jr.) – 5.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg
11 Jordan Mincy (5-10, 175, Jr.) – 2.3 ppg, 3.0 apg

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