Game: (1) North Carolina – (16) Vermont 3/16 4:10 PM ET
Game Analysis: Vermont played amazing in their play-in game last night and beat Lamar 71-59. It is ironic that a team’s prize would be to play UNC in the opening round of the tournament, but the Catamounts relish the opportunity. North Carolina enters the tournament as the heavy favorite to take it all, but it strongly depends on the health of forward John Henson’s injured wrist. Regardless, they have a very well rounded lineup that features at least four players that will eventually be featured in the NBA. Point guard Kendall Marshall is averaging a jaw-dropping 9.7 assists per game, while Tyler Zeller is coming off a year in which he won ACC Player of the Year and Harrison Barnes is a projected lottery pick. UNC has to start somewhere and unfortunately for Vermont it starts with them.
Matchup to Watch: F Tyler Zeller, North Carolina vs. F Luke Apfeld, Vermont – Zeller will have to step up if Henson is unable to play and he is one of the toughest players to guard in the entire tournament. He is relentless on the offensive glass and the All-ACC First Team player knows how put the ball away. Apfeld is very athletic for a big man, but the forward gives up four inches to the senior. Apfeld will have a tough time keeping Zeller in front of him, but then again so did most of the nation’s big men.
Prediction: North Carolina 81 – Vermont 65