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November 29, 2006
Game of the Week: Ohio State vs. North Carolina
• Preseason Top 25
• Preseason All-Americans
• The College Basketball Wire
Get the inside scoop on your favorite team:
The hype began as soon as the ACC-Big Ten Challenge matchups were announced in May. Two of the teams college basketball fans wanted to see meet most were going to meet on the court.
No. 3 Ohio State (6-0) is paired up with seventh-ranked North Carolina (4-1) for a showdown in Chapel Hill on Wednesday night in Rivals.com's Game of the Week.
Both programs had just put the finishing touches on the nation's top two recruiting classes. They combined to land four top-10 prospects, two others that reached five-star status and three more that were ranked among the top 100.
The meeting offers a chance to see some of the top freshmen – players who would have skipped college if it hadn't been for the NBA's new age limit – go head-to-head.
No matchup was more anticipated than Ohio State's 7-foot phenom Greg Oden versus UNC's Tyler Hansbrough. Oden, the consensus overall No. 1 prospect in the 2006 class, would take on the consensus 2005-06 National Freshman of the Year.
Could the next great big man hang with one of the best in college basketball? How would Oden perform in his first big game?
Unfortunately, we won't get to find out this week.
Oden had offseason surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right wrist and remains in recovery mode. He was projected to return on Jan. 1, but it could be sooner.
The Buckeyes have raced out to an impressive start without their future star, winning by an average of 26.1 points per game. That said, Ohio State hasn't faced anyone of the Tar Heels' caliber or size yet.
Hansbrough heads up a deep frontcourt, which also features a new freshman phenom - 6-foot-9 Brandan Wright. With 6-9 Othello Hunter being OSU's only true post player, the Tar Heels are likely to see plenty of zone defense.
The Buckeyes can create some mismatches in the backcourt, where they start two true point guards. Freshman Mike Conley and junior Jamar Butler are combining to average 11 assists per game.
We break down all the head-to-head battles and reveal who has the edge at each position.