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Friday, Dec. 8
The Indiana Daily Student


Up for the challenge

Hoosiers prepare for ACC/Big Ten challenge at UNC

North Carolina's men's basketball program sits at No. 2 in all-time victories. IU is ninth. \nThe Tar Heels and Hoosiers are two of the most hallowed programs in the nation, yet when the two meet today at 9 p.m. at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., neither team will be ranked. \nIn fact, North Carolina, which began the season ranked 19th, hasn't won either of its games this season, and IU dropped out of its No. 20 slot after losing to Marquette last week at the Great Alaska Shootout.\nStill, tonight's Big Ten/ACC Challenge meeting carries luster, tradition and history. And more. It offers a chance for both schools to jump-start their seasons. \n"This is going to be a big game for us," IU coach Mike Davis said. "You can forget about that fact that UNC is 0-2. This is a game I am sure everyone in Chapel Hill has had circled on their calendars."\nUNC coach Matt Doherty, who has coaching experience at Kansas and Notre Dame and recruited current IU sophomores Jared Jeffries and George Leach, is in his second season in Chapel Hill. The going hasn't been easy this season -- a 77-69 loss to Hampton and a 58-54 loss to Davidson, both coming in Chapel Hill. \nDoherty voiced more concern earlier this week, saying he plans to shuffle his lineup tonight and isn't quite sure what to expect from the Hoosiers (3-1).\nDoherty is prepared to play against both zone and man-to-man defense, and said his offense has the ability to succeed against either. Doherty was cautious about the difficult task of defending IU's inside and outside attacks. \n"(Jeffries) reminds me of Danny Manning (who Doherty coached while an assistant at Kansas)," Doherty said. "He can do a lot of things. Inside they have some depth, and they can be athletic." \nIn response, Doherty has pulled 6-foot-2 guard Adam Boone from the starting lineup and will start two freshmen, who have combined for only one start. Six-foot-2 freshman Melvin Scott will start at point guard, and 6-foot-8 Will Johnson will play in the post. Scott played only 10 minutes and did not score in UNC's loss to Hampton, but scored 15 points against Davidson. Johnson has come off the bench to score 5.5 points per game. \nFreshman Jawad Williams, a 6-foot-8 forward, is expected to be Doherty's sixth man, despite not scoring and playing only nine minutes against Davidson.\nBut, Doherty's firepower comes from his seniors - Jason Capel and Kris Lang, who are playing well despite the team's first 0-2 start in school history.\nCapel, a 6-foot-8 forward, is averaging 13 points and 11 rebounds per game, and Lang, a 6-foot-11 center averages 12 points and seven boards. The most important contributions from the duo might stem from their leadership, Doherty said. \n"They're not pointing fingers at anybody," Doherty said of his senior duo. "They're taking it on their shoulders and leading us through this difficult stretch."\nIt could get even more difficult should UNC shoot from outside the way it has in its first two games. In those losses, the Tar Heels hit just 12 of 54 three-point attempts (22 percent). Meanwhile, IU hits 46 percent of its three-pointers and broke the school record for three-pointers with 16 against Alaska-Anchorage. \nA lineup mix-up from Davis hasn't changed IU's shooting potency, but it appeared to fire up the Hoosiers after their loss to Marquette, in which Jeffries, junior guard Kyle Hornsby and senior guard Dane Fife all struggled. \nDavis inserted Leach, sophomore A.J. Moye and freshman Donald Perry in the starting five against Texas, a 77-71 IU win that increased the Hoosier bench strength.\nPerry played 38 minutes in the game and has a solution to IU's up-and-down play.\n"We need to play hard the entire 40 minutes," said Perry, who could match up with Scott, a fellow freshman, at the point. "At times we showed what hard work can get you against Texas, now we need to do it for 40 minutes at UNC."\nDavis indicated Monday that he still isn't certain what lineup he will use at UNC, but junior Jeff Newton, who scored 11 points against UNC in 1999 when the two teams met, will be available. Newton fractured his cheekbone against Texas and was thought to be out for at least tonight's game if not more than two weeks. But, the 6-foot-9 forward was cleared to play Tuesday and could help neutralize Capel and Lang. \nWhat could also help IU is that the Tar Heels will be without football players Donald Curry and Julius Peppers, who play their last UNC football game of the season Saturday. \nNo matter the lineup, Davis is counting on depth. IU has six players averaging more than 20 minutes per game, but Doherty has wiped out his bench in the two games, going 10-deep against Hampton and 12-deep against Davidson. \n"We have really developed some depth with nine guys playing for us," Davis said. "If we can continue that rotation of players it will really help us this year."\nMotivating either team shouldn't be difficult, given the circumstances, and IU has become accustomed to playing on the road, having played all four contests either as visitors or on neutral floors. The Hoosiers should also be well rested, after taking Monday off following a late arrival from Alaska Sunday. \n"This is a great college basketball game against two of the most storied programs in history," Davis said. "It is going to be exciting for everyone involved"

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