Tyler Bennett On Wednesday, the Purple Aces released their non-conference schedule for the season, becoming the second school to do so. Head coach Walter McCarty has put together a challenging slate that will undoubtedly test the Purple Aces, considering they will be without their top three scorers from a season ago. Evansville will play six games away from home, while hosting seven non-conference games before the calendar year comes to a close.
Evansville at No. This should be an easy match-up as the very talented Tar-Heels may take out their frustration on the over-matched Purple Aces. Evansville is , and on the road.
This will likely be the toughest team the Purple Aces face all year, though they did score an upset win over Butler in the season opener. This is a different class of team.
The Tar Heels can not afford consecutive losses, if for no other reason than to maintain their confidence. Losing at home to an obviously inferior team would hurt RPI as well as damage the team's psyche.
Evansville is expected to lose, so they will play with no pressure. This victory could make their season and be the deciding victory that vaults them in to the NCAA tournament, if they are on the bubble. What They're Saying: John Henson, the player whose shot was blocked in the waning seconds of North Carolina's loss to Kentucky, had this to say in regards to the effects of the loss: "Games like this get you ready for March, that's all that matters now.
North Carolina Player To Watch: Harrison Barnes is arguably the best player in college basketball, but he is coming off a subpar game for him, as he only scored 14 points in the loss to Kentucky.
Key Matchup: Ryan vs Barnes If the Purple Aces are too pull the very unlikely upset, Ryan will have to be huge, offensively and defensively. He will have to help slow down Barnes, but obviously Barnes should have far more help than Ryan.