North Carolina’s Sean May will return home as the Tar Heels visit Indiana in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge on Wednesday.
May spurned his hometown Hoosiers to head to North Carolina and he surely will hear it from the crowd.
“I’m probably going to get booed a lot,” May said. “But it’s not about me, it’s about my team.”
His team has been impressive with four straight routs after losing their first game this season. The ninth-ranked Tar Heels (4-1) cruised to the Maui Invitational title, with an average victory margin of 21, and then crushed Southern California by 32 points on Sunday.
Jawad Williams scored 23 points and May added 17 in Sunday’s 97-65 win.
Raymond Felton added 12 assists for North Carolina, which has won four straight since opening the season with a 77-66 loss at Santa Clara on Nov. 19.
“I’m still a little jet-lagged, and my body is taking a toll on me,” said junior guard Rashad McCants, who’s averaging 19.0 points to lead North Carolina. “But I think as a whole we came together, and we had a great effort out there.”
This game will provide Indiana an an opportunity to reclaim some national prominence after missing the postseason last season and compiling their first losing record at home since Assembly Hall opened in 1970-71.
“This game is the perfect stage for us, not only around Indiana but around the country,” said Hoosiers guard Marshall Strickland. “If we play well, it will send the message that if you play us, you definitely have to be on your ‘A’ game.”
Indiana (2-0) will face ranked opponents in its next four games, as it faces No. 7 Connecticut, No. 20 Notre Dame and No. 8 Kentucky.
It hasn’t beaten a Top 10 opponent since January 2003, and leading scorer Wright was just 1-of-7 from the field Saturday night in a 64-60 win over Western Illinois. He finished with four points.
Trailing by five points with 6:08 remaining, Robert Vaden and D.J. White scored 15 of the Hoosiers’ last 16 points to lead Indiana’s comeback.
“That’s the way I envisioned them (Vaden and White) playing, and they haven’t played that way until late tonight,” Indiana coach Mike Davis said. “You go back to the first exhibition games, D.J. scored a couple points, but I think he’s been nervous. But I thought he grew up. They played well. They rebounded and made free throws.”
White finished with 15 and Vaden had 12.
Indiana leads the all-time series 7-4, and has taken the last two meetings. The teams last met on Nov. 28, 2001, with the Hoosiers winning 79-66 at Chapel Hill.