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UNC roundball preview

What is the streak at now? I lost count after 50.

Brad Brownell has tinkered with the starting lineup throughout the season. He has fielded the same starting five in back to back games though (Andre, Tanner, Booker, Milton, B-Nice). But he could go right back to playing rock paper scissors with the lineup. Or he could stick with this five the rest of the way. Although I'm leaning toward thinking that he's actually finally found a permanent starting five. Just don't quote me on that.

It only took Roy Williams one game to find his starting five. Marshall, Henson, Barnes, and Zeller have started all 26 games for the Tar Heels. Dexter Strickland started 19 games for the Hells before tearing his ACL against Virginia Tech, and his replacement, Reggie Bullock, has started all 7 games since.

Kendall Marshall's 9.6 apg is 2nd best in the country. No one in the ACC comes even close. NC State's Lorenzo Brown is 2nd with 6.7 apg, and Tanner and FSU's Luke Loucks are tied for 3rd with 4 apg. Tanner is averaging 4 assists, and Marshall has notched at least 4 assists in every single game this year. The guy just has great court vision. He can find his teammate making the backdoor cut, and he also has the ability to drive the lane and make the last second assist that no one expects. I couldn't find video of his 16 assist performance against Maryland, but I did find this highlight reel from last season.

Bullock, Strickland's replacement, accompanies Marshall in the backcourt. Strickland is a better defender, but Bullock isn't much of a drop of offensively. He's actually UNC's leading 3-point threat. His 45 3s account for 35.7% of the Tar Heels' total. To put that in perspective, Andre Young's 55 3s account for 38.7% of our season total.

The Tar Heels are led in the frontcourt by senior Tyler Zeller. Zeller caught a lot of flack for his play at the end of the Duke game (an own goal followed by a missed free throw followed by playing poor defense and allowing Austin Rivers space to hit the game winning shot), but his play the rest of that game (and the rest of the season) has been phenomenal. He averages almost a double double a game (15.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg). Oh, and fellow 7 footer John Henson does average a double double (14 ppg, 10.3 rpg). Henson also leads the ACC with 3.2 bpg. And I haven't even mentioned Harrison Barnes yet. All he did the last time these two teams met was drop 40 on us.

I'd like to take the time here to tell you how much I hate North Carolina.

I'd rather lose to the chickens in basketball than lose to the Tar Heels. Their elitist mentality never fails to piss me off. I went to the ACC tournament last year, and while waiting in line at Stamey's, an older Tar Heels fan walked up to me and started telling me how UNC was better than everyone else. How they ran harder in practice and blablablabla.

I wish we had the chance to take them on Littlejohn this year, but that game isn't on the schedule this year. But hopefully the guys show up with a valiant (albeit in all likelihood doomed from the start) effort in today's game.

By the way, I looked it up. It's 55.

Game tips at 4 on ESPN.

UNC's Projected Starting Lineup

#5 Kendall Marshall 6-4, 195 sophomore PG

#35 Reggie Bullock 6-7, 205 sophomore G

#31 John Henson 6-11, 220 junior F

#40 Harrison Barnes 6-8, 215 sophomore F

#44 Tyler Zeller 7-0, 250 senior F

Also Watch Out For

#15 P.J. Hairston 6-5, 220 freshman G

#43 James Michael McAdoo 6-9, 220 freshman F