Game Preview: Oakland
This is pretty much what all of us have been counting down for since last March and why we endured the offseason drama. Sure none of the PJ Hairston or Leslie McDonald NCAA eligibility has been resolved, but we still have another 10 players to watch in the meantime.
First off the Tar Heels take on a team that finished fourth last year in a Summit League that features two teams from the Dakotas. But that doesn’t mean UNC should take them lightly.
- So, Travis Bader is good at basketball. Jay Bilas has already called him the best 3-point shooter in the country. He averaged over 22 PPG last year while connecting on 139 3s, you know, 50 more than PJ hit last season. Granted he also took 360, but he still shot at almost 39% from behind the arc. Throw in the fact that he’s a 6’5″ senior and Bader is a good-size guard with experience to boot. We know guards love to torch North Carolina and it might be the case again tonight. The backcourt will have issues trying to stop him.
- There’s a pretty significant drop-off after Bader, but junior Corey Petros does a solid job holding down the paint. At 6’10” he added 8 rebounds per and another 12.5 points. UNC should have the big bodies to match-up with Petros so don’t expect a big night from him. Should be some good experience for Joel James and Kennedy Meeks however.
- Duke Mondy and Ryan Bass are two more senior guards that compliment Bader. Together they contribute more than 21 pts and almost 8 assists. On second thought, Marcus Paige, Nate Britt, JP Tokoto and Luke Davis will have their hands full. I guess this is where we see what Isaiah Hicks and Brice Johnson will do when faced with a small line-up.
- Maybe this is also where James Michael McAdoo shows his skill at the 3-spot he’s been playing. But really, we’re already feeling the lose of PJ and Leslie.
- Last season Oakland did a good job scoring points (74.1 PSG, 34th in country) but had a hard time stopping teams (75.3 PAG, 328th). UNC showed its sloppiness on offense against UNC-Pembroke and maybe a lax defense is just what it needs in game one. Especially without the points Leslie and PJ would theoretically be scoring.
Pretty much run-of-the-mill opening game. (Should be) over-matched opponent and UNC rolls to victory.
Prediction: UNC 86, Oakland 75