North Carolina (7-3) vs. Davidson (4-7)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
Saturday, 5 p.m.
ESPNU (Mike Morgan, Jay Williams)
“It’s difficult for freshmen to come into a situation where they’re so heavily counted upon and the opposition is so strong.” – Davidson head coach Bob McKillop on his team adapting to recent injuries
Season to Date: Davidson enters Saturday’s contest with a 4-7 record. The Wildcats dropped five of their first six games, including losses to No. 8 Duke (111-77), Virginia (70-57) and New Mexico (79-58). Bob McKillop’s squad bounced back to win three straight, including an 87-78 overtime victory over Charlotte, before falling to Niagara and Drexel last week by double digits.
Brooks Banged Up: Senior forward De’Mon Brooks, who has missed the last six games due to a groin injury, is leading Davidson in scoring (16.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.4) this season. The Southern Conference Preseason Player of the Year is listed as a projected starter for Saturday’s game by the school, although there has been no official confirmation that he will play. McKillop wouldn’t speculate on his return following Sunday’s loss to Drexel.
Youth Forced into Action: Along with Brooks, senior guard Tom Droney (13.1 ppg) missed the last game due to a sprained foot. Those injuries opened the door for underclassmen to earn playing time. Two sophomores and a freshman started on Sunday, while a sophomore and two freshmen came off the bench. Sophomore guard Brian Sullivan led the Wildcats with 14 points and sophomore guard Jordan Barham added 11 points in a reserve role. Sullivan is averaging 12.5 points per game on the season.
Defensive Struggles: While scoring points has been a challenge, making matters worse is a putrid defensive effort. The Wildcats rank 326th nationally in scoring defense (80.4 ppg), 338th in field goal percentage defense (50.4) and 277th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (28.6). Size has been an issue – the Wildcats’ tallest starter is 6-foot-7, which helps explain their 323rd ranking in blocked shots (1.9).
Ball Protection: Despite their relative youth, the Wildcats have been effective in taking care of the ball. Davidson’s 10.6 turnovers per game ranks 42nd nationally and sets the basis for its 43rd-ranked turnover margin (3.3). The Wildcats’ turnover percentage is 25th nationally, according to kenpom.com.
Tough OOC Slate: The Wildcats’ nonconference schedule includes games against nine teams that played in the postseason last season and five top-25 teams.
Last Meeting: North Carolina pulled away late to secure a 72-68 victory over Davidson at Bobcats Arena in Charlotte on Nov. 14, 2007. UNC needed a 16-9 run over the final 6:05 to hold off Stephen Curry (24 points) and the Wildcats. Wayne Ellington led the Tar Heels with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, while Tyler Hansbrough added 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Series History: UNC leads the overall series 61-11, including 34 of the last 38 meetings. The Tar Heels and Wildcats met twice almost every year from the late 1920s to the birth of the ACC in the mid-1950s.
3 Brian Sullivan (5-11, 175, So.) - 12.5 ppg, 2.0 apg
4 Tyler Kalinoski (6-4, 175, Jr.) - 10.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg
23 Tom Droney (6-6, 200, Sr.) - 13.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg
24 De‚ÄôMon Brooks (6-7, 230, Sr.) - 16.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg
35 Chris Czerapowicz (6-7, 200, Sr.) - 8.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg
12 Jack Gibbs (5-11, 195, Fr.) - 8.0 ppg, 1.9 apg
25 Jake Belford (6-9, 210, So.) - 7.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg
5 Jordan Barham (6-4, 190, So.) - 6.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg
40 Andrew McAuliffe (6-8, 235, Fr.) - 4.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Roster & Bios
(Photos from USA Today Sports)