RTC Live: St. Francis (PA) @ UNCPosted by rtmsf on January 2nd, 2011
Game #89. RTC Live returns to Chapel Hill for a tuneup game prior to the ACC kicking into high gear.
North Carolina and Saint Francis are opening the new year today in Chapel Hill. While Tar Heel fans probably weren’t thrilled with a 4-3 start, the Tar Heels have bounced back to win five of their last six (only losing by a hair to Texas). Saint Francis has had no such turnaround: the Red Flash are currently on an eight game skid, most recently being pummeled by Cincinnati (although they did give Drexel a game). Continuing the differences between the two squads, it’s also fair to say that the two programs have had opposite historical arcs. Saint Francis has one NCAA Tournament appearance (1991), while North Carolina has two national championships in the last ten years. Things have been especially rough for the Red Flash the past couple of seasons, as they’ve finished 6-23 both years under head coach Don Friday. The Red Flash are led by a strong sophomore class which accounts for four of five starters. Umar Shannon is their most important player and leading scorer, averaging just over 13 points a game. The Tar Heels should dominate this game in the post, with three players taller than the tallest Saint Francis starter. Even if the Tar Heel backcourt of Larry Drew II and Dexter Strickland continue to struggle, Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller should be able to score at will against the overmatched Red Flash. This will be a crucial time for Roy Williams to work out kinks in his offense before starting conference play later this week. This is the first meeting of the two teams.