When your starters fail to make a FT and have more turnovers than assists, not good. Basketball was set back decades with UNCC’s ugly win over Bruce Pearl and his AAU squad from Knoxville. The Vols looked like they came to party in Uptown, not play a game — and knowing Pearl, maybe they partied anyway post-game. (The 5th Element had a big bash planned, provided a balky sound system got fixed.)

Still the Niners came away with a big emotional boost for a struggling program and something of a template for the rest of the season. Value the ball (only 8 TOs), make your FTs, stay packed in a zone, and hope Derrio Green and Jamar Briscoe can make plays. It would also be of immense help if Alan Major forbade the 3PT shot from at least half his rotation and worked on defensive rebounding out of a zone.

UNCC faces an almost must-win game at home against Wright St. on Wednesday as the four games after that are on the road, including at Georgia Tech and at Richmond.