After beating two ranked teams to win the Preseason NIT last week, North Carolina got a scheduling break against Middle Tennessee.
Ademola Okulaja scored 17 points as the third-ranked Tar Heels routed the Blue Raiders, 75-54, Monday night.
"It tells our team where we need to go," said Middle Tennessee coach Randy Wiel, who was a player and assistant coach at North Carolina. "Unfortunately, a team like North Carolina has been there for about 30 years."
The Blue Raiders (1-4) got within 11 points midway through the second half before Max Owens hit a three-pointer to start a 6-0 run for Carolina (7-0).
North Carolina got a breather after beating Purdue and Stanford in the Preseason NIT. Despite going scoreless for the first two minutes, they jumped to a 9-0 lead on a steal and dunk by Jeff Capel and led the rest of the way.
The victory continued North Carolina's dominance over teams coached by former Tar Heel players and assistants. Smith was 11-1 against those teams, while Guthridge is now 4-0.
Kris Lang added 11 points for Carolina, which outrebounded the Blue Raiders, 39-19.
Lee Nosse scored 12 points for Middle Tennessee.
Connecticut teams enjoy view from top
STORRS, Conn. -- For the second time in Division I history, the men's and women's hoops teams at Connecticut are simultaneously ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press polls.
UConn is the only major school to hold the top rank in both polls at the same time. The Huskies also achieved that distinction on Feb. 13, 1995.
The Connecticut men (4-0) moved up one spot to the top Monday after a week in which 10 ranked teams -- including No. 1 Duke -- suffered their first losses of the season. UConn received 52 first-place votes and 1,751 points from the national media panel.
Around the rim
Clemson (6-1) scored the first 17 points and held Radford to 22.6 percent shooting from the field in the Tigers' 70-37 romp. All 12 players on the Clemson roster scored, led by Harold Jamison with 13. . . . Lavor Postell scored 20 points as St. John's (4-2) rebounded from a pair of close losses in the Preseason NIT to trounce St. Francis, 97-73. Ron Artest added 17 points for the Red Storm, while Ray Minlend scored 16 points for St. Francis (1-2), which has lost 22 straight times to St. John's. . . . In women's basketball, No. 3 Tennessee's 92-73 victory over No. 2 Louisiana Tech had long-time Lady Techsters coach Leon Barmore talking about retirement. "If I cannot coach our team in the next couple of weeks and not see any progress, if I can't accomplish what I want to do and we're going nowhere, then I've got to seriously consider whether I need to keep coaching," Barmore said after Tennessee snapped Tech's 52-game home winning streak.