UNC Forward Meeks Out with Bruised Knee

UNC junior forward Kennedy Meeks will miss the next “several weeks” with a bruised knee, according to the university.

A release says doctors have not determined how much time Meeks will miss but say he is expected to miss at least two weeks.

Carolina is set to play UCLA on Saturday before wrapping up the non-conference schedule at home with games versus Appalachian State and UNC-Greensboro.

Conference play begins on December 30 against Clemson.

Meeks is averaging 12.3 points and 7.4 rebounds and is shooting 59.5 percent from the floor in UNC’s first nine games.


UNC Guard Marcus Paige Set to Return Against Maryland

The North Carolina Tar Heels are set for a top 10 matchup in the Dean Smith Center Tuesday night. And they’ll have an addition to the lineup in senior guard Marcus Paige.

UNC head coach Roy Williams said at his press conference on Monday that Paige would start, if he felt healthy leading up to tipoff.

“He’s our best player, our best defensive player,” Williams said, “and that’s what everybody forgets. I think that we’ve got to get a lot better defensively than the way we played those first six games. I think that’ll help us and his intensity level helps raise everybody else’s level too.

“That’s something we need to have at a higher level on a more consistent basis.”

Williams adds Paige practiced for the first time five-on-five on Saturday and that Paige will “likely” replace Theo Pinson in the starting lineup.

Paige said he felt good after going through a couple of days of full practice.

“My body feels good. My hand feels good,” Paige said. “I guess my hand won’t be technically, fully 100 percent for a while, but I don’t have any pain. To me, that’s 100 percent. If I don’t have to worry about it or think about it, I feel 100 percent.”

Paige did concede he probably won’t be “peak Marcus” right out of the gate but said he’s excited to get back on the floor with his teammates.

And the ninth-ranked Tar Heels have a tough matchup with a former conference foe – the second-ranked Maryland Terrpains.

Sophomore forward Justin Jackson says the team is excited to get “back to normal” with their senior leader on the court.

“Not having him out there those first, what, six games was definitely different,” Jackson says. “Having him out there the last, I guess what, two real practices and then walk through yesterday, it’s great to have him back out there.”

The game is part of this year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge and pits Roy Williams with one of his former assistants in Mark Turgeon.

Carolina fans will see a familiar face for Maryland with former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon, who transferred to Maryland after being dismissed from Duke.

Tipoff of the top-ten matchup in the Dean E. Smith Center is set for 9:30.

WCHL’s coverage of the game will begin at eight o’clock with Countdown to Tipoff Presented by UNC Healthcare on 97.9 FM/1360 AM.


“Release Your Transcripts”

UNC School of Journalism Professor Charlie Tuggle says Rashad McCants’ teammates, who made a statement in support of men’s basketball head coach Roy Williams, can clear allegations of connection to the academic scandal with one simple action.

“Former athletes, if you want to help clear this up, release your transcripts,” Tuggle says.

***Listen to the Full Interview***

McCants gave the University permission to release his transcript to ESPN, which showed he took 18 African and Afro-American Studies classes in the three years he attended UNC.

Tuggle says that fact alone is curious.

“That’s a lot of courses in one particular area of study in three years,” Tuggle says. “In the school of journalism—perhaps it’s different in other areas of the university—there’s a limit in how many classes you can take within your major area of study. During this period, the time period in question, it was 40 hours; a student could not take more than 40 hours. This unofficial transcript show that McCants took 54.”

UNC Vice Chancellor for Communication Joel Curran told WCHL that the University is not going to comment on the academic scandal anymore until the conclusion of the investigation being conducted by attorney Kenneth Wainstein. Curran said it is best not to create “a concurrent review of every claim that arises,” but that once the findings of the investigation are made public “we will be very interested in sharing our plans for moving forward.”

The Martin Report, an external review of the AFAM department conducted by former North Carolina Governor Jim Martin, stated that the academic scandal at UNC had no connection to athletics.

“Why is it that only people in the athletics department are responding to the McCants’ allegations?” Tuggle asks. “Of course Roy Williams should respond; McCants named him. Obviously and absolutely he should have responded. But, other than a brief statement from the athletics director, Bubba Cunningham, should Coach Williams be the only person to respond to something that’s been labeled an academic scandal? Why has the University decided to clam up?”

Tuggle says that action has damaged the University because of the public’s perception.

“I don’t think it’s a very good idea,” Tuggle says. “I think any time you are quiet about something of this magnitude—again, what is the public perception—why are you being quiet? Because you have something to hide. Is that reality? I don’t know. Is it the perception? Without a doubt it is the perception.”

The He-Said-He-Said


ACC MBB Championship Moved To Saturday

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced the Men’s Basketball Tournament championship game will now be played on a Saturday evening, a change that kicks off the tournament a day early.

The ACC regular season will now end on the preceding Saturday, with the 62nd annual tournament starting on Tuesday, four games on both Wednesday and Thursday and the Friday semifinals preceding the championship on Saturday.

Sunday afternoons have been the host of the championship game since the 1982 tournament, and ACC Commissioner John Swofford said he believes the conference’s players, coaches and fans will enjoy the switch.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Swofford said.

All 14 tournament games will continue airing nationally on ESPN and the ACC Network.

The 2015 tournament will again be held in the Greensboro Coliseum, a host to the event for the 26th time in conference history. The 2016 tournament will be held in Washington, D.C.; the 2017 and 2018 tournaments will be held in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.


ACC Men’s Basketball Tourney To NC In ’19, ’20

GREENSBORO — The Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament will return to North Carolina in 2019 and 2020 after its two-year stay in New York.

Commissioner John Swofford said at a news conference Thursday that Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena would host the event in 2019 followed the next year by the Greensboro Coliseum, located a short drive from the league’s headquarters.

The announcement came one day after the league said it would hold its 2017 and 2018 tournaments in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which marked a shift from the tournament’s Southern roots after waves of league realignment. The tournament has been held in North Carolina for 50 of 61 years, including in Greensboro earlier this month.

Greensboro will host again next year, followed by Washington, D.C., in 2016.


Midnight Madness Available Earlier This Fall

INDIANAOPLIS, IN – The NCAA announced last week that season-opening practices can be moved up two weeks for men’s basketball beginning this fall.

The Division I Board of Directors announced teams can hold 30 days of practice in the six weeks leading up to their regular-season opener. Previously, practice was roughly only four weeks long.

The first practice was also not allowed to take place before 5:00 p.m. under the old guidelines, but that stipulation has now been dropped.

For more on the rule changes, click here.


ACC Excitement Runs High On Franklin Street

CHAPEL HILL- Downtown Partnership Executive Director Meg McGurk says the energy level is high on Franklin Street during the ACC tournament.

“I think that the biggest thing that happens is that people want to be out and celebrating when the Heels are playing in the Tournament,” says McGurk. “In the evening people want to go out and eat and drink downtown before and they want to get a good spot for watching on TV, and that’s a great boost for our downtown businesses.”

And she says that enthusiasm extends beyond restaurants and bars.

“People also like to get new Carolina gear, a new t-shirt, a sweat shirt or a hat. That’s a boost for our Carolina fan gear shops as well.”

McGurk says fans come downtown seeking more than just a spot in front of the many flat-screened TV’s broadcasting the game. They come for camaraderie.

“I think when it is a tournament like this, there’s a little more excitement. People want to be on Franklin Street when the Heels win, because that’s where the celebration is that’s where the camaraderie is, and that’s where you find the stranger who becomes a friend because they’re also a Carolina fan.”

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Men’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. Semi-final games tip off Saturday at 1 p.m and 3 p.m. Sunday’s championship game gets underway at 1 p.m. You can catch the Learfield Sports pre-game coverage on WHCL starting at noon.