North Carolina at Ohio St 11-19-09

November 19, 2009

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North Carolina is undefeated through three games, but the defending national champions know they must improve on their last contest when they face a ranked opponent for the first time this season. The sixth-ranked Tar Heels take on No. 15 Ohio State in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. After easy wins against Florida International and North Carolina Central, the Tar Heels (3-0) lacked intensity during an 88-77 home win over Valparaiso on Sunday.

The Tar Heels have won their first three games by an average of 24 points. Senior F Deon Thompson leads the team with 17.7 PPG and 8.3 RPG while as a team North Carolina shoots 57% from the field. They will be facing a tough Ohio State squad who are led by Junior G/F Evan Turner. Turner leads the team with 19 PPG, 7 APG, 17 RPG and 2 SPG while the team shoots 50% from the field. The Buckeyes have only played two games so far, but they won by and average of 34 points. This will be a big test with both teams, but Ohio State seems to have the tougher defense, 52 PPG, although Alcorn State and James Madison were its opponents.

Though North Carolina is 9-2 all-time against Ohio State with four straight wins in the series, the Buckeyes are confident facing a program that’s won five in a row and 11 of its last 12 against Big Ten opponents.

“We’re all about competing, competing in practice – an attack mentality,” Turner said. “We’ll be prepared for any situation. It’s another game, another opportunity, another day to get better. (North Carolina) is a new team out there. We’re not really looking at them as national champions. We’re just looking at them as a great team that’s very capable.” This is the teams’ first meeting since then-No. 1 North Carolina won 66-55 at Ohio State on Nov. 28, 2007. Thompson had 14 points for the Tar Heels, while guard Jon Diebler paced the Buckeyes with 19.

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