While many fans are still stuck on North Carolina getting slapped with the eighth seed in what I’ve concluded was a drunken St. Patrick’s Day prank by the selection committee others are already looking ahead to a potential match up with Kansas in the next round. Getting wrapped up in either scenario, especially looking past the Villanova Wildcats would be a huge mistake for the Tar Heels.
Nova’ is no pushover, like Carolina, they have taken some lumps with losses to teams like Columbia by 18 and Alabama by 22. But they have also defeated some good teams such as ACC bound Louisville and Syracuse as well as Georgetown. The stats for this team are not pretty, they rank no higher than 189th in critical offensive categories such as field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage, assist-turnover ratio and turnovers.
Defensively the Wildcats struggle to defend the three and that plays right into the Tar Heels hands as they have relied heavily on the three point shot this season especially since head coach Roy Williams chose to go to a small lineup with four guards inserting P.J. Hairston over center Desmond Hubert in the starting lineup. Carolina has hit 255 3-pointers, nearly eight per game, Villanova on the other hand has given up 30 more three’s than they’ve made this season. Here’s what Nova head coach Jay Wright had to say on the matter.
“That is an area we have struggled all year – defending the three point line. So, of course, this is the way it works. Who do you get in the NCAA tournament? The only Carolina team that ever has relied strictly on a three point line. That’s the way it works.
A win for Carolina would lift Roy Williams to his 700th career victory and he just may get it in a stadium packed with fans from his former team the Kansas Jayhawks where he notched 418 wins in 15 seasons before returning to North Carolina.
UNC is favored by only 4.5 points in this contest, 8 vs. 9 seeds are supposed to be close match ups in the NCAA Tournament, if the Heels are able to connect from the outside and they get anything close to what they got from Hairston in the ACC Tournament tonight they could roll considering Villanova’s limitations on the offensive end and defending the three point line.