Williams has expressed confidence his UNCs progress

ESPNU — King Rice, Derrick Phelps and Brian Reese enjoyed many great moments during the course of their careers at North Carolina, so forgetting what happened this afternoon shouldn’t prove too difficult.

The Tar Heels hammered Monmouth 102-65 in their final tune-up prior to ACC competition. Rice is in his first year as the Hawks’ head coach, and he selected former teammates Phelps and Reese as assistants. Effectively, Carolina playing — and paying — Monmouth amounted to an act of charity by Roy Williams. The truth is that these lower Division I programs need the fee paid by larger schools, even if a smacking is likely to follow.

John Henson enjoyed an enormous size advantage and scored effortlessly inside and facing the basket. He led the Heels with 21 points and added eight rebounds and three blocks. Harrison Barnes tallied 20 points and Kendall Marshall doled out 11 assists. As a team, the Heels shot 54 percent to Monmouth’s 37 percent and out-rebounded the Hawks 55-26. In fact, the Hawks accumulated more fouls (28) than rebounds.

Williams laughed and smiled on the sidelines toward the end of the game, a sure sign that he felt pleased by his club’s performance. Of course, the Hawks rank No. 329 in Ken Pomeroy’s empirical rankings, and No. 5 UNC should be expected to dominate an opponent of that caliber, and especially at home.

Thankfully, the non-conference schedule is complete. Carolina hosts Boston College next Saturday to open league play and won’t face any team outside the conference until the NCAA Tournament. Click here to view the UNC/Monmouth box score.