As we count down to the first day of basketball practice (Oct. 12), let’s take a daily look at an opponent on North Carolina’s basketball schedule ...
Opponent: Butler or Marquette
Date: Nov. 20 in the Maui Invitational
Game location: Lahaina Civic Center
Series results: UNC leads Butler 2-1 (last game was a 104-64 win in 1994); UNC leads Marquette 4-1 (last game was an 81-63 victory in the 2011 NCAA tournament)
Butler last season: 22-15 overall, 11-7 in the Horizon League.
Marquette last season: 27-8, 14-4 in the Big East. Lost to Florida in the NCAA regional semifinals.
Butler foe to know: Rotnei Clarke, 6-0 guard, redshirt senior
Bulldogs coach Brad Stevens believes he has the depth to replace Chrishawn Hopkins, who was kicked off the team earlier this month for breaking an unspecified rule. One of the reasons is Clarke, a former Arkansas guard who sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules. He connected on 42 percent of his 3-pointers in three seasons with the Razorbacks, and that could be a boon for Butler, which made fewer than 30 percent of its 3-point shots last season.
"Clearly Rotnei will play a lot,'' Stevens told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz. "He's a very, very, very good player and he's gotten better during his year sitting out. He's down six or seven pounds. He's worked extremely hard on his upper body. He took advantage of this year off as well as anybody I've seen.''
Marquette foe to know: Trent Lockett, 6-5 guard, senior
Lockett averaged 13 points and 5.8 rebounds as a junior last season at Arizona State, but opted to transfer closer to his Minnesota home after his mother was diagnosed with lymphoma.
He was granted a waiver to play immediately after graduating in three years and enrolling in a Marquette graduate program. He adds depth and experience to the Golden Eagles, who will be looking for additional scoring now that Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom are gone.
Tidbits: This will mark Butler’s first season in the A-10 … The winner of this game advances to the Maui Invitational championship. For more on the Maui Invitational teams and bracket, click here.
Previous schedule previews:
Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.