Game Preview: Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament
Considering how difficult it was to find a decent logo (and it’s not even that good or of the tournament) of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament, I think it’s fair to say the event isn’t exactly the most prestigious of the preseason challenges. Even if the thing is held at the MOHEGAN SUN CASINO in UNCASVILLE, CONNECTICUT. Can we say destination?
This years’s field is buoyed by the inclusion of UNC and Louisville but nothing else is that exciting. Well, Belmont did upset UNC in the early games. Still though. The “semifinals” of UNC/Richmond, Louisville/Fairfield don’t pull in the viewers.
So in the bad news department, Richmond was able to handle powerhouse Belmont in its HOF Tip-Off tilt. The good news? Belmont didn’t hit 15 3-pointers against the Spiders so it wasn’t quite the same team that beat the Heels. Richmond is led by senior Cedrick Lindsay’s 17.5 ppg, and last year’s squad was able to beat 19th-ranked VCU once during the regular season. Chris Mooney is a solid coach and Richmond typically hangs in the top half of the underrated A10 conference. This game won’t be a cakewalk without Hairston and McDonald, but most people are betting the Heels will be able to dominate the glass as the Spiders only play two guys at 6’8″ for any significant minutes
In other good news, the Spiders like to run, which should play into UNC’s gameplan. And their lead guard, Lindsay, is not a threat from beyond the arc, shooting only 15 percent on the year. We all know how lead guards love to go off against the Heels, however, so he’ll probably shoot 50 percent this game.
Prediction: UNC 80, Richmond 72
In the case our prediction doesn’t come true (THIS NEVER HAPPENS), UNC would play Fairfield on Sunday. This is one game we can confidently say that the Heels would pull out. The Stags are 1-3 on the year and have trouble reaching 50 ppg. If this game happens, you’ll undoubtedly be in a world of frustration and anger at how bad UNC has been playing in its previous two games, and so as a remedy YOU WILL WATCH THIS GAME. It will help restore you, rejuvenate you and give you peace.
Prediction: UNC WINS BY A LOT
When the organizers of the HOF Tip-Off were setting the field, they were probably ecstatic to have Louisville and UNC as the headliners. Both teams projected to be ranked, and likely undefeated, entering the final game on the storied floor at Mohegan Sun Arena. Then PJ-gate happened. Now the Heels are struggling to find their identity without their leading scorer or any other natural two-guards on the roster. The No. 3 Cardinals are still in the mix to repeat as National Champions, so needless to say, we don’t have high hopes for this one.
There’s not much good news in the lead-up to a showdown with Louisville. The Cardinals are big and athletic at every position. Oh, and there’s the fact that standout sophomore Montrezl Harrell has a chip on his shoulder because he grew up as a UNC fan in Tarboro, N.C., but the Heels didn’t extend him a scholarship offer. UNC’s best bet is to aggressively guard Russ Smith, Luke Hancock and Wayne Blackshear on the perimeter and keep Harrell off the boards. U of L averages 88 ppg, but maybe the Cardinals will go cold?
Prediction: Louisville 88, UNC 74