North Carolina came into the year with a young and brand new team that had high expectations because they are North Carolina. They didn’t live up to all of the hype early on the year, but they got hot at the right time of the year.
With P.J. Hairston inserted into the starting line-up, North Carolina has looked like a whole new team. They are 8-3 with Hairston starting and their three losses have come to Miami (FL) in the ACC championship and twice to Duke in the regular season.
After losing to the Hurricanes in the ACC championship, North Carolina got an 8 seed. That was not the seed anyone expected the Tar Heels to get, but they have to live with it. A second round game against Villanova followed by a third round game against Kansas has Carolina a tough road to the sweet 16.
The Tar Heels have played the 9th hardest schedule in the country and are certainly prepared to play anyone they are matched up against. Although Villanova is a very good team, Carolina should beat them as long as Hairston is able to effectively guard Jayvaughn Pinkston.
That leaves them with a match-up against Kansas. Roy Williams against his old school story lines the match-up everyone will want to watch in the round of 32. It will be a tightly contested game that will come down to the wire.
P.J. Hairston on Kevin Young will be a key match-up, but will James Michael McAdoo be able to shut down the much taller Jeff Withey? Ben McLemore will be most likely be defended by the tall and athletic Reggie Bullock who will be able to limit McLemore’s ability to get off an open outside shot.
If Carolina gets by Kansas, they can beat whoever they are put up against leaving them in the Elite Eight with a tough match-up. If Carolina gets to the Sweet 16, it will be a successful tournament, but they want to get farther than that.
With the improving play of Marcus Paige, the coaching of Roy Williams and the way they have shot from behind the arc, the Tar Heels can do some serious, unexpected damage in the NCAA tournament.