Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/6/11

For the fan base, after watching their squad battle against ninth ranked Wisconsin at home and top ranked Kentucky on the road, can take a breath of relief as fourth ranked North Carolina (6-2) will host Evansville (3-3) at the Dean Dome tonight at 7:00 pm EST, television coverage on ESPNU. However for head coach Roy Williams, his coaching staff and the team, that luxury does not exist as they can not fall into a let down, or trap, game due to the type of competition. And that statement not only stands for tonight, but for quite sometimes, since in the next couple of weeks Carolina will be playing against mostly non BCS conference foes, with the sole exception being Texas, none ranked and all in the friendly confine of the Dean Dome. It won’t be until January 14, when this team will head to the sunshine state to take on Florida State, that UNC will be traveling for a game.

This should be a good thing as the Heels have not lost at home to a unranked, non-conference opponent since they went down to Ohio in early 2002. Since then 67 consecutive wins have been posted by the team donning the carolina blue. One thing about this game is that both teams come off tough losses, with UNC losing to Kentucky at the buzzer while Evansville went down in OT by the final of 70 to 68 to TCU. But, just like for most of the early season, this game is once again about what coach Williams’ club can and will do compared to what their foes do. Reality being that from now until North Carolina meets their arch rival Duke they do not have any ranked games, so they have to manage their game and they could easily be going into the late part of the season with the same losses as they have now.

I want to see how much pounding inside will go on in this game, as senior center is just 13 points away from reaching 1,000 points, becoming the 64th player in Carolina history to do so, and giving the Heels the record for most players reaching that plateau. Zeller is averaging 13.4 points per game so you should figure he will reach it, unless the game slides away quickly and coach Williams decides to make a lot more rotations and keep the starters on the bench a lot more. Speaking of that, I want to see more of James McAdoo working with the likes of Zeller and John Henson, as he is going to be needed when the team makes its post season runs. But most of all, with teams that should not be a problem for this squad I am hoping to see the players that are a bit banged up sitting and getting the rest needed to be ready for the ACC part of the schedule.

On defense I am hoping to watch this team keep up with working hard on not letting the dribble drive and dish hurt them. I would love to see Kendal Marshall work hard to keep the opposing point guard out of the paint and make them look for the pass way outside of the scheme of any play. Dexter Strickland needs to work on getting his points while still thinking “inside out” when it comes to starting out the frame. As a team right now only Marshall (32.1 mins) is playing over 30 minutes per game, Henson is at 29.8. I would like to see that fall for both and have no starters that high when the conference games begin. And while I know Stillman White is not going to see much action come crunch time it would be good to see him on the floor just to give him game action. Again, this is more for the defense, as I do not see a problem with UNC scoring with White on the floor.

The Las Vegas insiders have North Carolina as a 25 points favorite, and while that is a big chunk to give to anyone I can see it happening, as well as seeing the Heel get another triple digit score at the Dean Dome. But in this one it’s not the score that will matter, it’s going to be whether or not this team can keep the intesity that had in the last two games and if they can have it no matter who they face.

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