Appalachian St.-North Carolina Preview

A weeklong break for exams has given North Carolina some

much-needed rest, but coach Roy Williams said his team hasn’t

gotten much time to prepare for a hectic stretch.

The fifth-ranked Tar Heels begin a set of three games in five

days Saturday with a visit from Appalachian State.

North Carolina (8-2) is in the midst of a nine-game homestand

after playing five of its first eight contests away from home,

including the inaugural Carrier Classic aboard the flight deck of

the USS Carl Vinson.

The Tar Heels’ 84-78 win over Long Beach State last Saturday,

though, was the team’s eighth game in three weeks. A six-point

deficit early in the second half of that game might have been a

sign of fatigue.

Reggie Bullock gave North Carolina the lead for good with eight

straight points, totaling 15 off the bench. He was one of four Tar

Heels players in double figures, with John Henson’s season-high 24

points leading the way.

The week off for exams might have seemed like a blessing, but

Williams said his team has managed to get only one practice in

during the first six days of that stretch.

“It hasn’t been the greatest week for us to try to get better as

a basketball team to say the least,” Williams said Friday. “This is

not a great practice scenario. It’s just a survive, try to get a

little bit better, survive, try to get a little bit better.”

North Carolina might be able to manage without much preparation

against the Mountaineers (4-5) and Nicholls on Monday, and perhaps

those games will give the Tar Heels enough of a tune-up for a visit

from Texas on Wednesday.

“It’s going to be challenging for us,” said guard Kendall

Marshall, who matched a career high with 16 assists in the win over

Long Beach State.

North Carolina will try to continue its improvements against a

program led by former Tar Heel Jason Capel.

Capel went 16-15 in his first season at Appalachian State but

appears to have some work to do to surpass that finish. The

Mountaineers have dropped three in a row and had one of their worst

offensive performances of the season during a 65-48 home loss to

East Tennessee State last Saturday.

Junior swingman Jamaal Trice, averaging a team-best 12.8 points,

was one of two Appalachian State players in double figures with 12

points. Senior guard Omar Carter, meanwhile, was held to four

points after averaging 13.6 in his first eight contests.

North Carolina is 4-0 all-time against Appalachian State heading

into the first matchup since Nov. 17, 2000. The Tar Heels are

seeking their 23rd consecutive home win and 53rd in a row against a

non-conference opponent at the Smith Center.