by Mike Potter
LeVelle Moton may not have known quite what he was getting into when he first decided he wanted to be a college basketball coach.
Tonight at 9, he finds out.
In his very first game Moton (pictured top left), who was an assistant at his alma mater for two seasons before taking over the reins, will lead his N.C. Central team against defending NCAA champion UNC (1-0) at the Smith Center.
Roy Williams (pictured at right) coaches the No. 4 Tar Heels, who will be heavy favorites in a game shown on ESPNU. NCCU was 4-27 last season in Henry Dickerson's final season as head coach, and NCCU's third season as a transitional Division I member.
The contest is part of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, which UNC helped tip off on Monday night with an 88-72 win over visiting Florida
Moton said he's probably going to try to come with some odd wrinkles to try to keep up with the Tar Heels.
"That's the tough thing about this transition and being a 'low major' school," Moton said. "You can be the best running team in 'low major' basketball D-I, but Wednesday night if we try to go out there and run with those guys, you'll get run off the court.
"I read an English parable in 12th grade, and I'll never forget it. It was about a hedgehog and a fox and it was talking about how the fox had so many deceptive ways of trying to run up on him. And each time, the hedgehog would just ball up in a circle and his spikes would come out and that's how he defended himself. And so every day the fox would come from different angles, from under a tree, under a bush, whatever, and the hedgehog just did what he did. And that's pretty much how Carolina is. They just do what they do, and you're just not going to out-man them. I guess we've got to be the fox and come up with some clever ways to gain an advantage."
The "tournament" continues in a few days with games at New York's Madison Square Garden and in Miami at Florida International.
The Tar Heels will play Ohio State on Nov. 19, then the winner of that night's California-Syracuse game the next day.
NCCU will visit FIU on Nov. 20, and then take on Murray State on Nov. 22 and James Madison on Nov. 23 in Miami.
N.C. Central at UNC
[Wednesday, 9 p.m., Smith Center]
Records: NCCU 4-27 (2008-09), UNC 1-0.
Audio: WCHL-AM 1360, WRJD-AM 1410, WRDU-FM 106.1
Coaches' records - NCCU: LeVelle Moton 0-0; UNC: Roy Williams 595-138, 177-37 at UNC.
Leading scorers - NCCU (returnee from 08-09): Vincent Davis 11.2; UNC: Deon Thompson 20.0.
Leading rebounders - NCCU (returnee from 08-09): Vincent Davis 4.0; UNC: Ed Davis 11.0.
Assist leaders - NCCU (returnees from 08-09): Michael Glasker 2.3; UNC: Larry Drew II 6.0.