Monday, November 24, 2008

Maui to put a strain on Tar Heels

LAHAINA, Hawaii — North Carolina’s coaches have worried about the strain playing three games in three days might put on the stress reaction in Tyler Hansbrough’s shin. But that’s not the only player they’re worried about as they prepared for the Maui Invitational, which begins tonight.

"In the summer, I said 'Gosh, it's going to be great in Maui since we have so much more depth than anyone else,' and now we don't have it,’’ said coach Roy Williams, whose top-ranked team plays Division II Chaminade tonight. “We're still going to try and play people because this early in the year I don't think I can put that kind of load on people by playing somebody 35 minutes a game."

Along with Hansbrough — who may or may not play — wing Marcus Ginyard is still out because of surgery, forward Mike Copeland is still rehabilitating his knee and forward Tyler Zeller is likely sidelined for the season after breaking his wrist.

UNC still has plenty of healthy players to come off the bench, including Bobby Frasor, Ed Davis and Will Graves. But with so many games in a row, with no practicing in between, Williams said one of the keys for his team in the tournament is to make sure that “mistakes don't become habits during the course of playing three games in three straight days.”

Still, Williams said he likes the format because it gives his team a chance to learn and bond on and off the court, regardless of its overall health.

"The first time I came [here] was the fall of '96, and we played great,'' he said. "I thought it was a great experience for our team, getting them on the road, spending some time together. I thought it was wonderful for our chemistry. But the thing about it, playing three straight days against the type of competition we have here, the different types of basketball [styles] you play against, I just think it’s a great experience for the team."

-- Robbi Pickeral


tarhoosier said...

UNC team is in Maui for the week, play three games, no practices on game days, thus free for the beach, and they have several high power reserves available for a set of meaningless games against competition they will crush. Reserves will have substantial court time in any case. Weather in Chapel Hill is cold, wet and dreary. So the strain is where?