North Carolina Tar Heels: UNC Asheville Bulldogs

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A quick look at top-ranked North Carolina’s 102-69 win over Tennessee State on Tuesday night:

What it means: That the Tar Heels might not have to fret about their outside shooting … at least for a few days. After connecting on less than 29 percent of their shots from behind the arc in their first three games, they were 7-for-10 from 3-point land in the first half, and 11-for-18 for the game. Sophomore reserve Reggie Bullock led the charge, getting a career-high 23 points, including six 3-pointers.

How it happened: TSU was feisty early, cutting a double-digit deficit to 37-33 during the first half. But UNC countered with a 9-2 run to take control back. The Tar Heels got a little bit of everything from everybody: Bullock recorded his first double-digit game since he was sidelined by a knee injury last season. Kendall Marshall doled out 15 assists. John Henson finished with another double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds, plus four blocks and a career-high 6 assists). Harrison Barnes also chipped in 16 points.

Star watch: It was the third time in Marshall’s career (24 starts) that he’s doled out 15 assists in a game. No other player in school history has done it more than once.

Hubbub: There was a great moment at halftime, when UNC honored the mom of TSU’s MJ Rhett. Stephanie Rhett, an army sergeant, had been serving in Iraq since September, but surprised her son in the locker room before the game. The footage was shown on the video boards, and mom received great applause from the crowd at the Smith Center. Rhett is from Hopkins, S.C.

Number to note: 5,518 -- miles the Tigers will travel during the first three weeks of their schedule. Last week, they played games at Saint Louis and Western Kentucky. Sunday, they played at Columbia, S.C. Next up: Las Vegas.

What's next: UNC travels to Las Vegas on Wednesday, and will play South Carolina in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Invitational on Friday night. Saturday, the Tar Heels will face either USC or UNLV.

Check back for more later.

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp

Rapid Reaction: UNC 67, Michigan St. 55

November, 11, 2011

SAN DIEGO -- A quick look at North Carolina’s 67-55 victory Friday over Michigan State in the Carrier Classic aboard the USS Carl Vinson:

What it means: It means nothing in the big scheme of things -- one game in November won’t make or break either of these teams. But certainly North Carolina didn’t want to come out in its first game and lay an egg, not with all the preseason excitement around this team. And the Tar Heels didn’t. They acquitted themselves well. Meanwhile, Michigan State also is what we expected. The Spartans have some good interior play with Draymond Green, Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix, but they need help outside and didn't get it Friday night (finished 2-of-20 from 3).

How it happened: No smoke and mirrors here. The Tar Heels simply have better players than the Spartans -- and lots of them. They were able to force Michigan State into mistakes and get out in transition to open up the game in their favor. Carolina was beaten on the boards, but it shot a respectable 46 percent given the conditions. Just 31 percent for MSU. Harrison Barnes led all scorers with 17 points, while teammate John Henson was 6-of-10 from the field. Kendall Marshall and Dexter Strickland dished out five assists apiece for UNC.

Halftime: Beat up on the boards early, North Carolina erased a seven-point first-half deficit by going to its bread and butter, its transition offense. The Tar Heels capitalized on missed Michigan State shots and forced turnovers to get out on the break, where the Spartans are simply no match. By the half, UNC led 36-25.

Hubbub: Since this wasn’t a typical game, time to point out some of the not-so-typical stuff. The pregame featured an all-sailor rock band, called The Destroyers, and in-game it was the tunes of the Navy Band. ... Some fans got to the flight deck by taking the lift used to bring the planes on board. ... Both teams sported camouflage-themed uniforms, and the UNC coaching staff wore khaki cargo pants tucked into military boots.

Quotable: "As some of you may know, because it was reported, the men and women of this ship were part of the critical mission to bring Osama bin Laden to justice" -- President Barack Obama addressing the crowd before the tip.

What’s next: North Carolina will charter to Asheville, N.C., arriving sometime around 5 a.m. and playing UNC Asheville at 4 p.m. Sunday. The Bulldogs are opening a new arena, and Asheville is Roy Williams’ hometown. ... Michigan State, meantime, jets cross-country for a Tuesday-night tip against No. 6 Duke in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden. The Spartans will make a quick stop in East Lansing, heading to New York on Monday.