Rashad McCants scored 18 points, Raymond Felton pumped in 16 to go with seven assists and a pair of steals and Jackie Manuel chipped in 14 to go with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals as the Tar Heels handled Stanford, 74-57, to win the Owens Corning Preseason NIT championship before a crowd of 11,718 at Madison Square Garden.
Here are some notes from UNC's fifth win in as many games.
***With the victory, UNC improved to 10-0 in its series with Stanford.
***UNC has been ranked in the top 10 for seven of the ten meetings between the schools. And the Tar Heels were ranked in the top five for its first five meetings with the Cardinal.
***This was the first time in the series that neither team was ranked entering the game.
***The last time Stanford and UNC faced each other was on March 19, 2000, when eighth-seeded UNC upset No. 2 seed Stanford, 60-53, in the second round of the NCAA tournament. UNC freshman Joseph Forte led the Tar Heels with 17 points. The game was played in Birmingham, Ala.
***UNC defeated Stanford for the Preseason NIT title on Nov. 27, 1998. Ed Cota scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Carolina. Ademola Okulaja chipped in 14 for the Tar Heels.
***All-time scores in Stanford-UNC series (all UNC wins): 1967-68 (87-78); 1977-78 (92-61); 1983-84 (88-75); 1985-86 (89-55); 1988-89 (87-76); 1990-91 (71-60); 1995-96 (87-63); 1998-99 (57-49); 1999-2000 (60-53).
***The last time Carolina started a season 5-0 was in the 1998-99 campaign, when they won eight games before losing (66-64 to College of Charleston).
***The All-Tournament team for this year's Preseason NIT: Matt Bonner (Florida), Wayne Simien (Kansas), Josh Childress (Stanford), Rashad McCants (UNC), Raymond Felton (UNC).
***Despite being owned on the glass 46-31 overall and 18-9 on the offensive boards, UNC still had more second chance points (17-15).
***UNC had 27 points off turnovers while Stanford had just 10. Incidentally, Carolina won by 17.
***With the victory, the Tar Heels improved to 24-6 in games played in the current Madison Square Garden.
***UNC's losses in the current Madison Square Garden: Dec., 1968, St. John's (72-70); March, 1970, Manhattan (90-85 OT); March, 1973, Notre Dame (78-71); Nov. 1988, Missouri (91-81); Jan. 1992, Notre Dame (88-76); Nov. 1993, UMass (91-86 OT).
***Interestingly, UNC defeated Duke, 73-67, at MSG on March 25, 1971, in the postseason NIT. The Tar Heels defeated Georgia Tech, which wasn't yet in the ACC, two days later, 84-66, to win the NIT title.
***This is Carolina's youngest team ever. UNC has just nine players on basketball scholarship. Five are freshmen, three are sophomore and one is a senior. UNC also has a senior who is on Morehead Scholarship and a freshman who is walking on this year, but will be on scholarship next season. UNC wasn't able to offer David Noel a basketball scholarship this year because there reached their limit regarding the 5/8 rule, meaning a school can't sign more than five players in one year and eight over a two year stretch.
***Over the first 49 years of ACC basketball, UNC has averaged eight juniors and seniors its preseason rosters. Prior to this year the fewest number of juniors and seniors on a roster was four, which was in the 1990-91 season when UNC had three senior starters (Rick Fox, King Rice, Pete Chilcut) and junior starter Hubert Davis.
***According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Carolina is the youngest team in the nation.
***UNC started three freshmen in the opening game this season for the first time ever. Tonight's starting lineup: Sophomores Jackie Manuel and Jawad Williams and freshmen McCants, Felton and May.
****Scott and Manuel were the first freshmen to start in backcourt together last year.
***Jawad Williams was the 17th freshman to ever start his first game for UNC last year. That number is now up to 20.
Senior writer Andrew Jones is in his seventh year with Inside Carolina. He hosts a late afternoon radio show on ESPN Radio, WMFD AM630 in Wilmington and can be reached via e-mail at: AndrewJones@AM630.net.