Men's Basketball Preview: North Carolina

Here they are. The top ranked and unbeaten UNC Tarheels come to the RAC with their traveling road show for a Sunday night showdown with the Scarlet Knights at 8:00 PM. This is the game everyone has circled on their calendars. Could this be a classic trap game for The Heels?

I’m not too sure about that, but it’s up to the Scarlet players. The Heels are very good. The roster is full of 5 star recruits. Not only are they undefeated, but they have dominated on the court. The year to date schedule and resulting statistics could be questioned, but I’m not sure it matters and it shouldn’t matter to the Knights of Old Queens. UNC has slipped by Davidson, hammered Iona, crushed South Carolina State, slaughtered Penn, and has beat down ODU, BYU, Ohio State and Kentucky by an average of 12 points per game. Where will Rutgers fit in? Where do they want to fit in ? They gave Florida a run for their money for 15 minutes, were handily defeated by Nebraska, and have stumbled a bit with all of their other opponents so far.

Superstar (#50) Tyler Hansbrough, the 6’9” 250lb forward has lead the Wooden Watch list for three weeks in a row. As most of you know, the John Wooden Award is college basketball’s most prestigious individual honor. Hansbrough is averaging 21.4ppg on 54.5% shooting, and 9.6 rebounds per game. He rarely takes a 3 point shot. He prefers a game down low. Take that JR Inman and you other Scarlet Knights. Here’s your chance to show him up and shut him down. Do it alone, do it as a team.

Here’s the lowdown on their top 8 players:

#50 – Tyler Hansbrough 6’9” 250 F 21.4 ppg 54.5% / 9.6 rbpg

#22 – Wayne Ellington 6’4” 200 G 17.4 ppg 49.5% / 3.8 rbpg / 47% 3pt

#14 – Danny Green 6’6” 210 G/F 14.0 ppg 54.8% / 4.4 rbpg / 40% 3pt

#5 - Ty Lawson 5’11” 195 G 11.0 ppg 59.1% / 1.0 rbpg / 36% 3pt

#21 – Deon Thompson 6’8” 240 F 8.5 ppg 53.2% / 4.6 rbpg

#1 - Marcus Gilyard 6’5” 218 G/F 7.0 ppg 35.6% / 4.9 rbpg

#32 – Alex Stepheson 6’9” 235 F 3.9 ppg 56.5% / 5.8 rbpg

#4 - Bobby Frasor 6’3” 208 G 3.0 ppg 34.6%/ 2.1 rbpg / 50% 3pt

As a team The Heels shoot 71.5% from the free throw line. Guards only shoot 3 pointers. Forwards play at the post.

No one will give the Knights a snowball’s chance. The game is on ESPN. Not ESPN2. Not ESPNU. The TV cameras and the national audience are there for UNC, not Rutgers.

For Rutgers to be successful, they will need to play aggressive and relentless basketball for 40 minutes.

The Sunday primetime spotlight could be used by the Scarlet Knights to showcase players like JR Inman and super freshmen Corey Chandler. Playing the number one team in the nation is a rare opportunity. Therefore, the Knights and their fans will need to rise to the challenge.

In back to back seasons, the Rutgers football team has defeated a top 10 opponent at home. It is yet to be seen if the Men's basketball team can evoke the same magic.

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