By Greg Barnes
North Carolina's 2007-08 campaign begins Wednesday night, as the Tar Heels travel to Charlotte to face Davidson, one of this year's top mid-major programs. Tip-off at the Bobcats Arena is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.
North Carolina (0-0) vs. Davidson (1-0)
Charlotte, N.C. - Bobcats Arena
7 p.m., ESPN
"I think more than just opening on the road, opening against a quality opponent like Davidson is probably more difficult than where you're playing -- it's who you're playing. They've got five starters back from a team that won 29 games, a very confident team, a very well-coached team [and] a very dangerous team regardless of who they play." -- Roy Williams
"Coach Williams has made [Davidson] important over these last couple weeks of practice. It's on the practice plan that we need to be prepared for Davidson like they're a big-time team. So we're not looking past them or downplaying their skills or anything." -- Deon Thompson
Everybody’s Back: The 2007-08 Wildcats return every scholarship player from last year’s 29-5 team, while adding three freshmen to the roster. Head coach Bob McKillop’s starting lineup boasts seniors Thomas Sander, Jason Richards and Boris Meno. Junior Max Paulhus Gosselin serves as the unit’s defensive stopper, and Stephen Curry is back hoping to build on a terrific freshman campaign.
Curry Draining Threes Like His Father: Dell Curry was known during his days with the Charlotte Hornets for his marksman-like shooting ability from behind the three-point line, and his son followed suit during his first collegiate season, connecting on 40.8 percent of his shots behind the arc en route to a 21.5 points per game scoring average. Curry ranked ninth nationally in scoring (second among freshman) and broke the NCAA single-season freshman mark for three-point field goals (122).
Serbian Connection: UNC’s Deon Thompson and Curry both played this summer for the USA-under 19 team in the World Championships held in Novi Sad, Serbia. The U.S. squad lost to host Serbia 74-69 in the gold medal game.
Little Known Fact: Richards ranked second nationally in assists (249) and assists per game (7.3) last season.
2006-07 notes: Southern Conference regular season and tournament champions ... second straight trip to NCAA Tournament, ninth overall ... Third straight 20-season, seventh under McKillop ... School record 29 wins ... Set 14 school records (7 school / 7 individual) ... Won 25 of its last 27 contests ... Top-20 Nationally in eight major statistical categories
Last Meeting: North Carolina topped Davidson 82-58 at the Smith Center on Jan. 3, 2006. Tyler Hansbrough scored 23 points and Reyshawn Terry added 16 points and four blocks as the Wildcats were held to 32.3 percent shooting on the night. The Tar Heels out-rebounded Davidson 54-31.
Series History: North Carolina and Davidson have battled 71 times over the years, with UNC winning 60 of those contests and 33 of the last 37. The Tar Heels and Wildcats met twice almost every year from the late 1920s to the birth of the Atlantic Coast Conference in the mid-1950s. Carolina hasn’t lost to Davidson away from Chapel Hill since Feb. 18, 1952.
Location: Davidson, N.C.
Conference: Southern Conference
Colors: Red & Black
Head Coach: Bob McKillop
Record at DC: 311-218
Last Year: 29-5 (17-1)
Projected Starters (with 06-07 stats):
2 Jason Richards (6-2, 190, Sr.) – 13.5 ppg, 7.3 apg
30 Stephen Curry (6-2, 180, So.) – 21.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg
14 Max Paulhus Gosselin (6-6, 195, Jr.) - 4.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg
15 Thomas Sander (6-8, 220, Sr.) – 13.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg
5 Boris Meno (6-8, 220, Sr.) - 11.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg
22 William Archambault (6-6, 210, So.) – 7.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg
41 Andrew Lovedale (6-8, 215, Jr.) – 4.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg
24 Bryant Barr (6-4, 185, So.) – 3.5 ppg
23 Stephen Rossiter (6-7, 230, So.) – 1.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg
1 Brendan McKillop (6-0, 175, Fr.) – Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic