Previewing Marshall

After a tough high-profile defeat, the Tar Heels look to bounce back Tuesday against a solid Marshall squad. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at the Smith Center and the game will be televised by Fox Sports South.

North Carolina (8-3) vs. Marshall (9-1)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
7:00, Fox Sports South (Mike Hogewood, Dan Bonner)


"I give Coach Jones and his staff much credit; this is a very good team. They're going to give the Tar Heels a test ... The Tar Heels are big and skilled, but so is Marshall. They're big and they're long and they're athletic, and their guard play is very good. They need good guard play, because they're going to get pressured. I'm obviously going to root for my Tar Heels, but I think Marshall has got a great chance to go down there and give them a good basketball game." – High Point head coach and former UNC player Scott Cherry after his team's loss to Marshall on Sunday


Season to Date: Marshall enters Tuesday night's contest with a 9-1 record. The Thundering Herd's lone loss occurred at Old Dominion (70-62) on Nov. 21. Head coach Donnie Jones' squad has scored 99 or more points in four of its past five games, including a 109-76 victory over High Point on Dec. 20.

A Balanced Effort: Sophomore guard Shaquille Johnson (12.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg) is the lone Thundering Herd member that is averaging more than 24 minutes per outing, and his numbers top out at 25.5 mpg. Ten players are seeing more than 12 minutes per game, which helps explain how eight team members are scoring between six and 14 points each time out. Senior forward Tyler Wilkerson leads the way with an average of 13.5 points and 7.9 rebounds.

Local Flavor: Freshman 7-footer Hassan Whiteside hails from James Worthy's neck of the woods in Gastonia, N.C. The 235-pounder is averaging 12.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per outing, and recorded the first triple-double in school history when he posted 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 blocks against Brescia on Dec. 16. He became only the ninth player and the first freshman to earn a triple-double in Conference USA history. Whiteside's 53 blocks on the season are the fourth-most in a single season in school history and already rank as the 14th-most for a career in school history.

Strength in Defensive Numbers: The Thundering Herd ranks 14th nationally in field goal percentage defense (36.8), 16th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.4) and 8th in blocked shots (7.4). Marshall's turnover margin ranks 20th nationally (plus-4.9), thanks in large part to its 9.1 steals per game (36th nationally).

Odd Fact of the Day: Sophomore guard Damier Pitts is now 43-46 (93.5%) from the charity stripe in the final five minutes of games in his career.

Last Meeting: The second-ranked Tar Heels defeated the Thundering Herd, 116-62, on Jan. 2, 1994 in Chapel Hill.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Marshall, 2-0.

Projected Starters:
3 Damier Pitts (5-10, 165, So.) - 10.3 ppg, 4.3 apg
0 Darryl Merthie (6-0, 190, Sr.) – 6.4 ppg, 3.3 apg
23 Shaquille Johnson (6-3, 195, So.) – 12.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
32 Tyler Wilkerson (6-8, 240, Sr.) – 13.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg
21 Hassan Whiteside (7-0, 235, So.) – 12.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 5.3 bpg

Top Reserves:
30 Tirrell Baines (6-6, 20, Jr.) – 6.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg
2 Cam Miller (6-8, 205, So.) – 6.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg
14 Chris Lutz (6-3, 190, Sr.) – 6.1 ppg
1 Antonio Haymon (6-6, 220, Jr.) – 5.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg
10 Dago Pena (6-6, 220, So.) – 4.7 ppg
45 Nigel Spikes (6-11, 220, So.) – 4.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg

Location: Huntington, W.Va.
Enrollment: 13,814
Conference: Conference USA
Nickname: Thundering Herd
Colors: Green & White
Head Coach: Donnie Jones
Record at MU: 40-32

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