March Madness is in full swing.
Top-seeded North Carolina battled throughout the first half of Thursday night's first round matchup against Florida Gulf Coast University, heading into the half with a narrow 41-40 lead. But the Tar Heels came out firing on all cylinders during the second half and pulled away with the win, 83-67. While UNC pounced, Providence had to fight for every inch until the final whistle blew, providing college basketball fans with the first buzzer-beater of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, taking advantage of a missed assignment on the inbound pass with just 1.5 seconds left on the clock to earn a spot in the second round.
UNC's Brice Johnson led the way for the Tar Heels with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 8 blocks and a steal, while Rodney Bullock's double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds led the way for Providence.
The winner of this matchup will face the winner of Indiana vs. Kentucky.
Date: Saturday, March 19
Time: 9:40 p.m.
TV Channel: TBS
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Opening Betting Line: UNC -9.5
Prediction: If UNC plays like it did during the second half of the game against FGCU, it can very easily find itself in the Final Four. The Tar Heels, led by ACC Defensive Player of the Year Brice Johnson, are a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor. Defending the paint is something they do well, but they can also rain buckets. Providence showed impressive resilience Thursday night against USC, somehow finding a way to win when the Trojans had multiple chances to put the Friars away. This kind of fight is what you need in a tournament setting.
But when it's all said and done, the Tar Heels' fire power may just be too much. Length and athleticism will win this matchup, with UNC moving on to the Sweet 16.