The North Carolina Tar Heels proved worthy of their number one ranking, taking care of business to hold off the pesky Michigan State Spartans, 67-55 in a unique season-opening game played outdoors aboard the USS Carl Vinson.
While this was a big game on the schedule for both teams, it was a much bigger life experience that neither team will forget, playing in front of a military crowd with President Barack Obama sitting courtside under cloudy skies with temperatures hovering in the mid-60's much of the night.
Despite the unique and memorable environment, both teams may not enjoy watching the actual game tape since points were hard to come by on a tough shooting night. Michigan State shot just 31% from the field, including a stunning two of 22 from behind the arc, needing 72 field goal attempts to score only 55 points.
North Carolina found better shots, utilizing their skilled front-court players with Harrison Barnes (17 points) and John Henson (12 points) leading the way. The Tar Heels' 22-6 run in the first half pushed the North Carolina to a double-digit lead that proved to be the difference in the game and the teams played nearly even in the second half.
Draymond Green did the bulk of the damage for the Spartans, but struggled to make shots or draw fouls against the stingy interior defense of the Tar Heels. Green finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Freshmen Branden Dawson had a strong debut, scoring ten points and grabbing seven rebounds.