UNC vs. Vanderbilt Preview
Needing to rebound after a putrid performance against Minnesota, the Heels face off against the Commodores of Vanderbilt in the consolation game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Vanderbilt lost its semifinal game in similar fashion to the Heels, losing the lead in the first half and never regaining it despite staying within striking distance. Thankfully for the Heels, Vanderbilt is not a team that is going to put a ton of points on the board but do have two players with the possibility of going off.
- Vanderbilt’s Jeffrey Taylor is a pre-season all-SEC first teamer who has not performed up to his potential in Puerto Rico. The junior forward does provide the inside presence that can give the undersized Carolina fits, so Tyler Zeller and Justin Knox will need to stay out of foul trouble to make sure Taylor doesn’t have a coming out party against UNC.
- What’s more worrisome than Taylor is guard John Jenkins who has been the one Commodore throwing in the buckets. Jenkins has scored over 20 points in both games in Puerto Rico, including a career high of 27 in the the loss against West Virginia. UNC is always susceptible to high-scoring guards and Jenkins fits that mold.
- Carolina should be able to take advantage of turnovers and fast breaks, a key part of the offense Minnesota shut down. West Virginia scored 19 off turnovers against the Commodores and in turn Vandy only had 2 points off the fast break. If Carolina can control these two aspects, the outlook appears good.
The Heels will need to play with the patience they showed against Hofstra to take down the SEC opponent. After getting out of their game plan Friday, Carolina was never able to regain that edge and confidence it showed the night before. Maybe the day off helped the young team to regain some of that composure it lost and allowed for some Roy Williams knowledge to sink in. Look for the Heels to get back in the win column.
Predicition: UNC 82, Vanderbilt 74