The North Carolina Tar Heels are ranked #1 in the nation to start the season once again, and expectations for Roy Williams's squad are soaring. However, the team suffered a blow Wednesday as they learned that their superstar point guard Marcus Paige will be out for the first 3-4 weeks of the 2015-16 college basketball season due to a fractured finger on his non-shooting hand.
The oft-injured but brilliantly talented Paige was injured during practice on Tuesday, according to the team. When healthy, he is electric from the backcourt, hitting a high percentage of the long ball and garnering numerous assists each game. Paige only seems to get better in crunch time, driving into the lane and hooking in some impressive layups when it matters.
As a senior, Paige is expected to be the complete floor general for the Tar Heels as they charge through another difficult ACC schedule. Their arch-rival Duke just won a National Title, so we can be certain that UNC is bubbling over ready to spoil the Blue Devils' fun.
North Carolina has a relatively simple first few games, and their toughest test in their first five games may be their first game of the season matching up against Temple in the Veteran's Classic on November 13th at 7:00 PM EST. However, it is unlikely that Paige will be back for their massive clash against #3 Maryland in Chapel Hill, one of the biggest games of early season college basketball.
UNC is not devoid at talent behind Paige, but it is not very deep. Feisty Nate Britt and speedy Joel Berry II are the only legitimate candidates to 'replace' Paige for the few weeks, sharing the position. Roy Williams will likely experiment with many lineups before the team hits the court against the Terrapins on December 1st at 9:30 PM EST.