November 14, 2007 12:19 AM
If the top-ranked Tar Heels are to start the season with a victory, it will come against a Davidson team that likely won’t make it easy.
The Wildcats feature the Southern Conference Preseason Player of the Year in shooting guard Stephen Curry. The 6-foot-3 sophomore is the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry.
“The kid can shoot,” said Thompson, who played with Curry during this summer’s under-19 FIBA World Championships. “No matter where he is on the court, he can shoot. He’s a real cool kid.”
Davidson, which returns five starters from a team that went 29-5 and claimed the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament titles last season, is also hoping to exorcise some postseason ghosts.
The Wildcats had Maryland on the ropes in their first-round contest, losing 82-70 despite holding a second-half lead that got as high as eight points.
“They’re a very dangerous team regardless of who they’re playing or where they’re playing,” Williams said. “This is a major challenge for us. … We’ve got to make sure our guys have the same kind of intensity that the Davidson guys have.”
North Carolina and Davidson have a long history with North Carolina winning 60 of the teams’ 71 meetings. North Carolina and Davidson twice met in NCAA Tournament regional finals (1968, 1969) and the Wildcats have a victory against the Tar Heels as recently as the 2001-02 season.
“It’s hard being Davidson in this state knowing how much attention, particularly Duke and North Carolina get,” Williams said. “They feel that they’re pretty doggone good, and rightfully so.”
BONUS ARTICLE: Tar Heels open play against Davidson