9:15 a.m. Sunday in Charlotte (Ch. 7) Record: 23-10 overall, 11-7 in Pac-10 Conference (3rd place). Seed: 7. RPI: 32. Bid: Automatic. Tournament record: 18-16. Best...
9:15 a.m. Sunday in Charlotte (Ch. 7)
Record: 23-10 overall, 11-7 in Pac-10 Conference (3rd place).
Seed: 7. RPI: 32. Bid: Automatic.
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Tournament record: 18-16. Best finish was 1953 when they finished third.
Last tournament experience: Lost 69-56 to West Virginia in the Sweet 16 last year.
What the Huskies have to do to win: Contain North Carolina’s big front line and try to keep them off the glass. The Tar Heels averaged 42.9 rebounds in the regular season, best in the nation. Washington must pressure UNC’s young guards and force them into turnovers. The Huskies will also need to shoot a high percentage from the perimeter because they aren’t likely to score many points in the middle.
Record: 27-7 overall, finished 14-2 and won the ACC regular-season title.
Seed: 2. RPI: 6. Bid: At large.
Tournament record: 103-39. North Carolina has won five (1957, ’82, ’93, ’05 and ’09) national championships. The Tar Heels have made 18 Final Four appearances.
Last tournament appearance: Beat Michigan State 89-72 to win the 2009 national championship.
What the Tar Heels have to do to win: North Carolina has to keep Thomas out of the lane and pound the Huskies with its big front line. Freshman Kendall Marshall will need to keep his poise and not allow UW’s pressure to rattle him. Harrison Barnes is an explosive scorer who tallied 40 points in a game last week in the ACC tournament. If he can make shots from the perimeter, he’ll open the middle for forwards Tyler Zeller and John Henson.
Vs. Washington: 1-0.
Common Opponents: Virginia, Long Beach State and Kentucky. The Tar Heels swept those three schools, while Washington went 2-1, dropping a 74-67 decision to Kentucky at the Maui Invitational.
Coach: Roy Williams has a 223-61 record in his eighth season at North Carolina. He spent 15 years at Kansas, where he compiled a 418-101 record. Williams has a 55-18 NCAA tournament record
Who has the edge?
Guards: “I love guards who can dictate the pace of the game and can change it even during the course of the game,” said Williams. “Isaiah Thomas) can play a half-court game and bother you, but he can also play a full-court game and really bother you. He can score and he makes everybody else better.” The Tar Heels are gearing their defense to slow down Thomas, which shows the respect they have for him. Strickland and Marshall are solid, but they’re young with little postseason experience. Edge: Washington.
Front line: Last year, West Virginia was long and athletic, and the Mountaineers knocked UW out of the Sweet 16. North Carolina is bigger and better than West Virginia. Henson is eighth in the country in blocks at 3.1 per game. Zeller is a double-double machine — he has 16 this season. He also scored 32 points in Friday’s win against Long Island. Barnes can score inside and outside. The Huskies need a big game from Bryan-Amaning, who has failed to reach double-digit scoring in the past three games. They also need an outstanding defensive performance from Gant, and N’Diaye has to avoid foul trouble. Edge: North Carolina.
Reserves: About eight games ago, Williams reduced the rotation to seven players. The Tar Heels received just six points from the bench Friday. McDonald rotates with the guards while Knox relieves the big men. Watts plays sparingly. The Huskies counter with four reserves who produced 28 points Friday. Wilcox has a career-high 24 points, Overton 20 and Suggs 18. Edge: Washington.
Coach: Williams was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007. He has won the coach-of-the-year award seven times (1990, ’91, ’92, ’97, ’05, ’06 and ’09) and was named the coach of the decade for the 2000s by ESPN and Sports Illustrated. He has the highest winning percentage (.798) among active coaches. Williams is also third all-time with 56 NCAA-tournament wins. Washington coach Lorenzo Romar is 8-6 in the tournament. Edge: North Carolina.
Prediction: Washington, 88-87