The No. 2 seed North Carolina Tar Heels (25-10) take on the No. 15 seed Lipscomb Bisons (23-9) in the First Round of the West Region. The game will be played at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on Friday, March 16. Tip-off time is approximately 2:45 p.m.
Preview: The defending national champion Tar Heels looked like they might be able to sneak a No. 1 seed with 10 losses. If they had won the ACC Tournament, that might've been the case, but they will settle for the second-seed in Xavier's region.
UNC lost a number of big-time players from last year's team, but they still play the recognizable brand of Tar Heel basketball. Even without elite shooting, UNC has an excellent, running offense.
Per KenPom, North Carolina has the No. 4 offensive efficiency in the country. The defense is also a very solid No. 34 in the country.
Lipscomb finished two games behind Florida Gulf Coast in the Atlantic Sun Conference, but knocked off the Eagles 108-96 in the tournament to earn a bid. The Bisons will try to run with UNC, playing at the fifth-highest pace in the country.
Date: Friday, March 16
Time: ~2:45 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Location: Charlotte, NC
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson
Opening Betting Line: North Carolina -18, via 5Dimes
This is North Carolina's 49th NCAA Tournament appearance, and the 14th under Roy Williams. UNC is in the field for the eighth year in a row.
UNC has made 33 Sweet 16s and 28 Elite Eights. Last year, UNC reached its 20th Final Four, and won a sixth NCAA Tournament in program history.
Lipscomb, an A-Sun school in Nashville, is dancing for the first time. The team made the NIT one time, back in 2006.
Prediction: North Carolina isn't the flashiest program in the field. However, it is hard to deny that the Tar Heels are a very good, well rounded club.
2017 Final Four MOP Joel Berry is back, averaging 17.1 points per game. Luke Maye, who had an unexpected star turn in last year's title run, is actually the team leader in scoring with 17.2 points per game, and is averaging a double-double with 10.1 rebounds per game.
UNC is playing very good ball, falling just short of upsetting UVA in the ACC final. North Carolina will be a pretty tough out in this bracket; few teams are more experienced. North Carolina wins.