The Tar Heels earned the number one seed in the Midwest Region. They were the 3rd number 1 seed in the tournament. They will start the tournament in the friendly confines of the Greensboro Coliseum where they will face the winner of the first round game played in Dayton between Lamar and Vermont. In the other Greensboro game 8th seed Creighton will face 9th seed Alabama.
History has been kind to the Tar Heels in games played in the State of North Carolina during the NCAA Tournament where they are 29-1 in their home State. This is also their 14th number one seed, the most of any team. Carolina started their 2009 National Championship run in Greensboro.
The Tar Heels come into the NCAA Tournament having lost a close game to Florida State in the ACC Tournament Championship. They have played the last two games without John Henson due to an injured wrist. It appears that he is good to go in the Big Dance.
North Carolina will await the winner of the Vermont-Lamar game played on Wednesday.
If Lamar prevails, they will face the Champion of the Southland Tournament. The Cardinals finished 23-11 and are coached by Pat Knight, the son of Bobby Knight. Knight made news by calling his seniors into question late in the season and to his credit, they responded finishing the season with 6 straight wins.
They are led by Senior Mike James who averages 17.2 points per game. Anthony Miles gives them 14.5 a game as well. They would be extremely mismatched against the Tar Heel interior as they are very small inside. To put things into perspective, they are led in rebounding by Devon Lamb who is 6'2", followed by 6'5" Charlie Harper. Tyler Zeller and John Henson would likely have a field day in the paint.
If UNC faces Vermont, they will face the Champion of the America East Conference Tournament. They also finished the season at 23-11. The Catamounts are young and inexperienced in the NCAA Tournament. They are however led by Senior Matt Glass who averages 11.9 points a game. Freshman Four McGlynn gives them 12.0 a game as well. Much like Lamar, they would be out matched from a size stand point. Vermont's leading rebounder is 6'6" Brian Voelkel, a sophomore who also leads the team in assists.
If Carolina advances, they will face the winner of the Creighton-Alabama game. A match up with Creighton would also match up two former high school teammates in Harrison Barnes and Doug McDermott. McDermott is a legitimate All-American candidate who leads the 28-5 Blue Jays in scoring and rebounding at 23.2 ppg and 8.2 rpg. McDermott is the coaches son and gets scoring help from Antoine Young, a senior who averages 12.5 ppg. It would be a track meet if the Tar Heels face Creighton who are 7th in the nation in scoring. UNC is 2nd in the Nation.
The Crimson Tide, from the Southeastern Conference are coached by Anthony Grant who has had a trying season of suspensions which has caused line up changes. Alabama has issues scoring the basketball but have bought into Grant's defensive tactics which helped them down the stretch. The Crimson Tide, who finished the season at 21-11 are led by JaMychal Green in scoring and rebounding. He averages 14.0 ppg and 7.4 rpg. Tony Mitchell gives them 13.1 ppg and 7.0 rpg.
The team who emerges from the Greensboro bracket will move on to St. Louis in the Regionals. The Tar Heels have 5th seeded Temple and 4th seeded Michigan in the top half of their bracket while 2nd seeded Kansas and 3rd seeded Georgetown are in the bottom of the bracket.
(photo of Greensboro Coliseum courtesy of Blueboy96)