North Carolina (7-4) vs. William & Mary (4-6)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
7 p.m. -- ESPNU (Mark Jones, Len Elmore)
“I thought we were solid defensively. We’re hanging our hats on the defensive end right now. As we play better teams, we have to increase our level of intensity on the defensive end.” – William & Mary head coach Tony Shaver after the Tribe defeated Shenandoah on Dec. 16
"The first couple games of the year, when we were having tough times, we struggled to stay positive. That's something that we, as captains, didn't do a very good job of at the beginning, but I think we're getting better at that and learning how to communicate more effectively." – Tribe junior Quinn McDowell
Season to Date: William & Mary enters Tuesday’s contest with a 4-6 (0-1 CAA) record. The Tribe lost its first three games of the season to Virginia (76-52), Richmond (73-49) and Syracuse (63-60), but have since won four of their last seven, picking up victories over Gardner-Webb, Mercer, Howard and Shenandoah. Tony Shaver’s club returns just two starters from last season’s 22-11 campaign and was picked eighth in the Colonial Athletic Association’s preseason poll.
The Mighty Quinn: With four seniors departed from last season’s squad, third-team All-CAA performer Quinn McDowell was expected to carry the Tribe this season. So far, so good. The junior forward leads his team with 14.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while ranking second in the CAA in both free throw shooting (84 percent) and 3-point shooting. The 6-foot-6, 215-pounder delivered his best showing of the season against Howard on Dec. 1, posting 24 points, eight rebounds, four assists while committing just one turnover.
Defensive Improvement: After allowing Virginia and Richmond to shoot 52.4 percent from the field and 44.7 percent from 3-point range in the first two games of the season, the Tribe has focused on clamping down defensively. Over the last seven games, William & Mary is holding its opponents to 37.4 percent shooting from the floor, including a 32.9 percent mark from 3-point range.
Troublesome Stat: William & Mary is coughing up 15.9 turnovers per outing, while only forcing 10.6 turnovers. In case you’re not carrying a calculator around, that represents a minus-5.3 turnover margin.
A Return Home: Marcus Kitts grew up roughly 25 miles from Chapel Hill in Holly Springs, N.C., and the senior forward returns to the Triangle as one of the top post players in the CAA. The 6-foot-9, 230-pounder’s 10.5 points per game rank second on the team, while leading the Tribe and ranking sixth in the conference in blocks (1.5 bpg) and eighth in field goal percentage (eighth in 54.7 percent). Kitts is on pace to become William & Mary’s all-time leader in field goal percentage, currently shooting 59.2 percent from the floor during his career.
Bombs Away: If you attended UNC’s first-round NIT victory over William & Mary in Carmichael Auditorium last March, you were able to see firsthand how streaky the Tribe is from 3-point territory. Shaver’s squad knocked down 16 of its CAA record 295 3-pointers in that game, and that dependence on the deep ball remains intact this season. William & Mary is connecting on 43.4 percent of its 3-pointers and making 8.3 treys in its victories, compared to shooting 30 percent and making six 3-pointers per contest in its losses.
Carolina Ties: Shaver (‘76) and assistant coach Jonathan Holmes (‘03) both donned Tar Heel uniforms during their playing days. Shaver played for Dean Smith from 1972-75, while Holmes played under Bill Guthridge and Matt Doherty and was a member of the 2000 Final Four team.
Last Meeting: North Carolina overcame a three-point deficit in the final four minutes with an 11-0 spurt to claim a 80-72 victory over William & Mary in the first round of the NIT on Mar. 16, 2010. Deon Thompson led UNC with 20 points and eight rebounds. The Tribe knocked down 16 of their first 37 3-pointers (43.2 percent) before the lid shut on the rim in the closing minutes as they missed on their final six attempts from long range.
Series History: The Tar Heels own an 18-3 series lead over William & Mary. UNC has won six consecutive games against the Tribe, dating back to December of ‘77.
1 Kendrix Brown (6-3, 195, Jr.) – 3.6 ppg, 2.4 apg
4 Matt Rum (6-4, 200, So.) – 6.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg
23 Kyle Gaillard (6-7, 215, So.) – 6.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg
20 Quinn McDowell (6-6, 215, Jr.) – 11.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg
45 Marcus Kitts (6-9, 230, Sr.) – 10.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg
33 JohnMark Ludwick (6-8, 230, Jr.) – 5.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg
12 Brandon Britt (6-1, 175, Fr.) – 5.2 ppg, 0.8 apg
22 Tim Rusthoven (6-9, 210, Fr.) – 4.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg
2 Julian Boatner (6-2, 180, Fr.) – 3.0 ppg, 0.8 apg
Location: Williamsburg, Va.
Colors: Green, Gold & Silver
Head Coach: Tony Shaver (8th season)
Roster & Bios