Before long both teams were ready to start the game, the opposing team for this start of the season was the team Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, was a good team that had been having a good season for the last two years and this year too would have, Jake remembered.
The Tar Heels team had played against this team last season and easily won, making the players of the Middle Tennessee team nervous before this game, especially since the Tar Heels team won the NCAA title last season.
On the other hand, the players and fans of the Tar Heels team were nervous because they had a responsibility to play well this season because they are the current NCAA title team, especially because coach Dean Smith had retired.
Only Jake was cool because from what he knew of his past life the Tar Heels team would play very well this season even if he wasn't on the team, with him on the team would be just better.
So soon the game started and the Tar Heels team got the ball, this was the first game with the Tar Heels team testing the new formation with no Center in the starting team, the starting team was Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Shammond Williams, Ademola Okulaja and Jake Smith.
It was a very offensive team even without Coach Guthridge daring to put Ed Cota in place of Ademola Okulaja, in that first game Coach Guthridge preferred a more balanced team defensively and offensively.
Jake and Jamison would be primarily responsible for the team's rebounds in attack and defense, so Coach Guthridge hoped to see how the team would do this way and he was relying on Jake and the other players to bring victory to the team.
"Welcome to everyone watching at home, this is the first game of these two teams in this 1997-98 college basketball season."
"The Middle Tennessee team has had good seasons in recent years, but they haven't achieved anything at the end of those seasons, while the Tar Heels team won the ACC tournament and NCAA tournament last season and is the favorite to win this game today."
"Of course, the Tar Heels team is the favorite to win today's game and maybe win this year's NCAA tournament again at the end of the season, but with the departure of coach Smith from the team many think that the Tar Heels team will not play as before."
"But the team still has the same players from last season just missing the athlete Serge Zwikker who graduated this year, and the team Tar Heels has Jake Smith who is arguably the best college player today."
"Sure, there may even be players who perform better in other positions and that's why it's hard to argue who is better, but Jake is a PG who practically plays SG and scores a lot and also makes a lot of passes."
"Jake is also great at rebounds and steals which is something that basketball is missing a lot these days, plus he has broken several records last season for players from other positions as well, so he's the most complete player."
While the commentators were talking about how Jake was the best college player, Jake was making the first Tar Heels team attack of the season, he advanced with the ball and after midfield passed the ball to Shammond Williams.
Williams was playing as second PG or second SG in that lineup, depending on the situation of the game, so Jamison would have to come back less to get the passes and could concentrate on trying to score or catch the offensive rebound.
Williams passed the ball to Carter from the left that advanced and paused holding the ball, Carter tried the trick, but the opponent was not fooled, so Carter passed the ball to Jake who was behind.
Jake received the ball and with speed got rid of the opponent's defense and advanced to the painted area, when another defender player arrived Jake made an unexpected pass to Okulaja that was still marked.
Okulaja had already trained with Jake several times and hoped for it and could easily pass and tried the layup making the first 2 points for team Tar Heels, Jake's assistance was unexpected because when he took out another defender Jamison who was the best offensive player of the team was left without defense.
The Middle Tennessee team didn't break down and soon went into the attack to equalize the game quickly, Jake quickly returned to defense and stayed after the defensive three-point line, PG opponent Richard Duncan refused to try anything against Jake and passed the ball to Freddie Martinez on the right.
Freddie Martinez was being defended by Vince Carter who was focused on defense, Martinez tried to pass Carter and when he saw that he could not pass to Aylton Tesch who was the best offensive player of this team on the left.
Tesch managed to easily pass Williams and advanced to make the mid-range shot to make 2 points and tie this game, in the beginning, this game was well balanced because the two teams were still without pace.
But after 7 minutes of the first quarter, Jake began to make more attacks and the game balance was over, in 5 minutes Jake made 3 shots of 3 points and hit the 3 and so after the Middle Tennessee team missed a play the advantage was of 6 points for the team Tar Heels.
Jake knew that after these more than 7 months of rest he had greatly improved on the three-point shots because of the increased statistic he had and much training in those months.
But Jake thought he had improved his basketball skills even more overall because he didn't have much to improve on his three-point shots and his other skills that still need to improve a lot for Jake to play well in the NBA.
After that, the Tar Heels team players were able to calm down more and the main players like Jamison and Carter began to hit more and more moves and the team's attack improved even more.
After the end of the first quarter, Tar Heels team had a big lead and Jake had played for every 20 minutes and had 15 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals, Jake was playing very well but still didn't think that it was good enough.
"What a great first quarter for Team Tar Heels in this game, the game was balanced until Jake started trying his three-point shots and since then Team Tar Heels has gained the advantage."
"It's true, Jake shows in this game how he showed last season how the moves if three points that many years ago didn't even exist in college basketball became important to change the direction of a game."
"A good player on the three-point line can in a good game give his team up to 6 points more than normal 2-point play, and Jake who has the best hit averages can change the course of a game in a few minutes as you did in that game."
"That's right, the Tar Heels team is in a moment of adaptation early this season playing without Coach Smith in charge and trying to play without a Center on the team which affects both offensively and defensively."
"True, I think Coach Guthridge decided to do that because he doesn't have a lot of options for players playing as Center and the Tar Heels team also has great players that allow him to make that change."
"Now we will have to follow up on this game and the next games if the Tar Heels team can keep winning by playing like that."
In the second quarter, the advantageous Tar Heels team could play quietly as always while still being very strong offensively and the Middle Tennessee players were more nervous to try to win the first game of this season.
Jake kept attacking as well as ever and was slowly catching up and trying to get more steals, so he wasn't playing the same games as last season, but in a few games, Jake thought he would play even better than before.
Meanwhile the Middle Tennessee players began to feel more tired at the end of the second quarter, clearly, the fitness of the Tar Heels team players was better than Middle Tennessee.
Jake was not even feeling tired with more than 30 minutes of play, and with this difference in the physical condition, the Tar Heels team players increased their lead further.
So after a few minutes, the game was over and the Tar Heels team had easily won by making 93 points against only 51 points from the Middle Tennessee team, in that second quarter, Jake played for 20 minutes and scored 18 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 4 steals.
"And today's game ends with the Tar Heels team winning as expected with a comfortable win, a great start for the Tar Heels team who needed that win to bring confidence to the team with a new coach."
"Okay, a great start for the Tar Heels team who is the current NCAA tournament champion, but today's game was not ideal yet and Jake was the one who led the team to victory, the Tar Heels team just won with all this advantage because the physical condition of the players was better than the players of the Middle Tennessee team."
"Let's see if the Tar Heels team continues to delight us in the games with this amazing team and amazing winning streak with this new coach."
Luckily the first game of this season would be at the Dean Smith Center in North Carolina, playing at home was much easier for the Tar Heels team who were the current champions to have more confidence to win the game with the full support of the fans.