Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting to know Chaminade

LAHAINA, Hawaii — North Carolina's first-round opponent, Chaminade, may be only 5-65 all-time in the Maui Invitational, but it can pull an upset. Its 1982 stunner over Ralph-Sampson-led Virginia is still considered one of the greatest college basketball shockers of all time, and eventually helped lead to the formation of the tournament.

Its last win in the tournament occurred last season, when it beat Princeton 74-70 in the seventh-place game.

Other things worth noting:

* Nickname: Silverswords.

* Although Chaminade is the host school for the tournament, it is actually located in Honolulu. Tonight marks its season opener.

* The Division II school lost all five of its starters from last year, but it boasts three Division I transfers. Center Mohamad Tangara, a graduate student, formerly played at Arizona. He also went to prep school at Mt. Zion in Durham. Forward Shane Hanson, a junior, played for UC Davis for two seasons. And guard Joe Smith, also a graduate student, previously played at Washington.

* UNC has never faced the Silverswords.

* Said head coach Matt Mahar: "Obviously we're excited to be the host of this tournament; it's fantastic for our University and our program. We're just hoping to get better; we have a whole new group, and we're just trying to figure out who's going to do what. We have three D-I transfers; I love my kids, they're good kids. Off the court, they're fantastic; on the court, we've got a lot to work on. So we're hoping to do that this week."

— Robbi Pickeral