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Thursday, March 15, 2012
UNC-Vermont notes: Name and numbers

By Robbi Pickeral

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina on Friday faces a foe in Vermont freshman Four McGlynn who is unique in a couple of ways.

He’s the only player in Division I that leads his team in scoring (12.2 ppg) without having started a game.

And his name is, well, “Four.”

Where did it come from?

“My uncle played with one of his good friends in high school; they called him ‘Four’ because he was the fourth generation,’’ the 6-foot-2 guard said. “And my dad named me Patrick which made me Patrick McGlynn, IV. So my uncle thought it would be cool if they call me ‘Four,’ and started calling me that ever since I was a baby. And it kind of stuck from there.”

McGlynn said he’s always liked the nickname, because no one else had it. “So it was cool being different,’’ he said.

Another way he'd like to be different: becoming part of the first 16th-seeded team to upset a No. 1.

"We're going into the game as confident as we have been all year,'' McGlynn said. "We have been playing great as of late, been on a pretty good winning streak, and we know that everyone's doubting us.

"But at the end of the day, it comes down to 12 guys on our team, and the coaches in the locker room that believe in us. And we're going to believe in each other and go out there and fight and hopefully come out with a win."

WHO’S THE BEST? UNC coach Roy Williams said he doesn’t think the NCAA tournament always identifies the best team: “I’ve had two teams that I thought were the best team in the country and we didn’t win, and I still thought they were the best team in the country.”

Asked if he felt his current team was the best in the nation this season, he said, “No.”

So who is?

“I said the same thing on October 15th, I think there’s seven or eight teams that have a legitimate chance,’’ he said. “Now I would probably go to 10 or 11. To me, I think Kentucky and Syracuse have separated themselves a little from everybody else. And they lost last week, so…."

TOE VS. WRIST: From the outside, it’s easy to draw comparisons. In 2009, when UNC was a No. 1 seed, it faced questions about if it would open the NCAA tournament in Greensboro without starting point guard Ty Lawson (who had an injured big toe).

This week, the top-seeded Tar Heels face questions, again at Greensboro Coliseum, about if they will have to sit starting forward John Henson (sprained left wrist.)

In 2009, Lawson sat out the first game. Henson, as of Thursday night, was considered a game-time decision.

But having dealt with a similar situation three years ago (when the Tar Heels went on to win the national title) isn’t necessarily helping Williams now.

“I’m awfully uncomfortable talking about it because I don’t know what I’m going to do,’’ Williams said.

Lawson’s situation was different than Henson’s, Williams explained, because the guard hurt his toe before the regular-season final against Duke, played, and then hurt it again. “So it was almost like a recurrence, but he didn’t get it hit again,’’ Williams said. “It’s just the swelling went up there.”

Williams said he also knew that that he had a solid option at back-up point guard in Bobby Frasor: “Bobby’s not Ty, but Bobby had played that position before and I had tremendous amounts of confidence in him. We had so many weapons with Danny [Green] and Wayne [Ellington] and Tyler [Hansborugh]; we just had a lot of weapons there.”

By contrast, Henson is backed up by freshman James Michael McAdoo, who has played with more aggression and focus lately, but he doesn’t have NCAA experience. Unlike ’09, the Tar Heels also have two key players on the bench: guards Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland, both out for the season with knee injuries.

Williams said if Lawson hadn’t come back for the second NCAA game in ’09, he doesn’t think the Tar Heels would have won it.

“Yeah … there are some similiaries [between Lawson and Henson],’’ Williams said. “But it certainly hasn’t made me more comfortable with what I’m trying to decide right now.”

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.