(1) North Carolina vs. (8) Creighton Preview
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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(1)North Carolina Tar Heels
Even without John Henson the Tar Heels were far too much for the Catamounts to handle as their season came to an end with a 77-58 loss. Heralded freshman James McAdoo really stepped up in Henson’s absence, scoring a season-high 17 while also getting four steals, which is also a career mark. Tyler Zeller put up a big double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. The Tar Heels were outrebounded by four, which is extremely uncharacteristic of them. They also didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, making just 41 percent from the field and 27 percent from deep. Still, they got the win, and that’s all that matters in the big dance. Henson is looking like a game-time decision for Sunday’s game against Creighton, but even if he comes back the Tar Heels are still going to need McAdoo to be a contributor. In order to advance to the Sweet 16 the Tar Heels are going to have to get back to dominating the glass and put forth one of their best defensive efforts of the season against a Bluejays team that can really score.
The Bluejays were struggling early on in their second round game against Alabama. The Crimson Tide, who controlled the tempo of the game for the majority of it, led by as many as 11 and were having a fine offensive game by their standards. But, the Bluejays came roaring back in the second half. Doug McDermott led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Grant Gibbs scored 10 and Ethan Wragge nine. The Bluejays were in a position where they needed a stop on the final possession in order to advance. They threw Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant off by switching to a zone after playing primarily man, forcing him into a late timeout that may have cost his team as they ended up missing and falling 58-57. Against the Tar Heels the Bluejays have to be very efficient offensively to try to slow down their transition offense. They also need to be tough up front as the Tar Heels will look to exploit their size advantage. It’s a daunting task for the Bluejays, but certainly possible if they bring their A game.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: North Carolina. Look for the Tar Heels to dominate in points in the paint and defend McDermott well enough to move onto the Sweet 16.
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