Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
5:30 p.m., FSN
"I know I focus on Al Skinner, because his teams are going to defend. They're going to share the ball and the right guys are going to shoot. The guys that can't shoot, don't shoot… [Tyrese] Rice's scoring and playmaking is extremely important to them." – UNC head coach Roy Williams
"I can't really say our game Sunday played a part in it, because I didn't hear anybody really talking about it." – Boston College point guard Tyrese Rice, when asked if his team was looking past Sacred Heart to North Carolina following the Eagles' 89-76 victory on Wednesday.
"I remember him not missing." – UNC forward Danny Green, when asked what he remembered about Rice's 46-point performance last season
Season to Date: Boston College enters Sunday's contest with a 12-2 record. Despite being picked 11th in ACC Preseason Media Poll, the Eagles have been a pleasant surprise this season, knocking off Iowa in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and winning their last nine ball games. Head coach Al Skinner's squad lost back-to-back games at St. Louis (53-50) and against Purdue (71-64) the week of Thanksgiving. A solid defensive effort (opponents are only shooting 39.9 percent) has played a significant role in the fast start.
Sharpshooting Senior: Preseason All-ACC guard Tyrese Rice is living up to the high expectations that three stellar seasons in Chestnut Hill have placed on him, averaging 16.7 points, 6.4 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. He has registered seven or more assists in each of the last seven contests, and has dished out 26 assists to just seven turnovers in the last three outings. Rice currently ranks among ACC leaders in the following categories: scoring (tied-seventh), assists (second), free-throw percentage (eighth, .831), assist-turnover ratio (fourth, 2.0) and minutes played (sixth, 32.0).
Abundant Youth: While Rice is a senior, Boston College's other four starters are all sophomores – forwards Corey Raji (12.8 points per game) and Joe Trapani (14.1 ppg), center Josh Southern (6.2 ppg) and guard Rakim Sanders (11.1 ppg). Ten of Skinner's 12 scholarship players are underclassmen, as that group is averaging 59.1 points and 31.3 rebounds per game. It's important to note that Rice is not the only scoring option for this squad, evidenced by the fact that four different underclassmen have led this team in scoring in a total of nine games this season.
Strong on the Boards: Boston College has outrebounded its opponent in 11 of 14 games this season, boasting a plus-6.2 rebounding margin. The Eagles have outrebounded their opponents by double-digits in six games, thanks to a complete team effort on the boards. All five starters are averaging at least four rebounds per game, led by Raji (6.9) and Trapani (6.6).
Nationwide Roster: The Eagles' roster includes 12 scholarship players hailing from 11 different states – Virginia, Colorado, Louisiana, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Florida, Michigan and Texas. Oddly enough, two Eagles arrived in Boston from Colorado (freshmen guards Dallas Elmore and Reggie Jackson).
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated Boston College, 90-80, on Saturday, March 1, 2008, in Chestnut Hill, Mass. North Carolina overcame a spectacular shooting display by Rice, who scored 46 points, tying the third-highest scoring outburst by an opponent in UNC history. UCN overcame a second-half 18-point deficit, outscoring the Eagles 50-26 after halftime to secure the comeback.
Series History: North Carolina leads the series with the Eagles, 6-3. The Tar Heels have won four consecutive meetings against Boston College. The two programs have split the two games played at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill.
Projected Starters: 4 Tyrese Rice (6-1, 190, Sr.) – 16.7 ppg, 6.4 apg 15 Rakim Sanders (6-5, 225, So.) - 11.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg 11 Corey Raji (6-6, 214, So.) – 12.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg 12 Joe Trapani (6-8, 218, So.) - 14.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg 52 Josh Southern (6-10, 242, So.) – 6.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg Key Reserves: 00 Reggie Jackson (6-3, 193, Fr.) – 7.2 ppg, 3.1 apg 21 Tyler Roche (6-7, 215, Jr.) – 5.1 ppg 5 Biko Paris (6-1, 196, So.) – 3.4 ppg
Rice ... Sanders
Trapani ... Raji
Southern ... Jackson