Friday night, the Lipscomb University Bisons travels to Chapel Hill to play the University of North Carolina Tarheels who are ranked #9 in the country.
From childhood, I've always cheered for UNC, but as an alumni of Lipscomb, I find myself in a pickle about which team I'll cheer. Both schools have story book histories.
Lipscomb was formally an NAIA power house. One span during the 90's they were the winning-est college program in the country. They were under the direction of Coach Don Meyer, who passed Bobby Knight with the most college wins of any coach. Coach Meyer retired with 923 wins and had a record of 655-179 while at Lipscomb. Check out the latest book about Coach Meyer by ESPN's Buster Olney; How Lucky You Can Be: The Story of Coach Don Meyer
Then you have UNC who went from being a football school to a basketball school in the early 50's under the direction of Frank McGuire (164-58). From there, Dean Smith (879-254), Bill Guthridge (80–28), Matt Doherty (53–43), and Roy Williams (196-54) have continued the UNC basketball tradition. It's also fascinating that Dean Smith, only had 20 losses, in 20 years at Carmichael Auditorium, before moving to the Dean Smith Center in the 80's.
So, why will UNC lose? Ok, I'm not fully convinced they will, but if Lipscomb is ever going to win, this is the year to do it. Lipscomb has four seniors, one of whom is Adnan Hodzic, who finished as the country's second leading scorer last year with 22.7 points per game. They are playing a UNC team that is still recovering from last year's poor performance and showcasing for the first time their new freshman class. Although it doesn't hurt when that class includes #1 ranked Harrison Barnes.
Just for fun I'm predicting Lipscomb 68, UNC 65.