(1) North Carolina vs. (16) Vermont: Greensboro Region
North Carolina 29-5, 14-2 ACC (Regular-season Conference Champs)
Vermont 24-11, 13-3 America East (Conference Tournament Champions)
Time: 4:10 p.m. Friday
Location: Greensboro Arena in Greensboro, N.C.
Winner will face: (8) Creighton or (9) Alabama, Sunday
North Carolina No. 4 AP; No.5 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll
North Carolina 4
Players to Watch
North Carolina: G Kendall Marshall, 6-4 So. (7.8 ppg, 9.7 apg, 1.2 spg); F Harrison Barnes, 6-8 So. (17.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 37.7% 3s); F Tyler Zeller, 7-0 Sr. (16.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 55.5% FG). Zeller – the ACC Player of the Year – had a nice performance in Sunday’s 85-82 ACC title game loss to Florida State. In the defeat, Zeller went 7-for-12 from the field with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Vermont: F Brian Voelkel, 6-6 So. (4.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 5.2 apg); G Four McGlynn, 6-2 Fr. (12 ppg, 1.1 apg, 1.6 rpg); F Matt Glass, 5-8 Sr. (11.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 46.4% FG). McGlynn is an excellent scorer and he had a great all-around game in the Catamounts’ opening round win over Lamar. The freshman came off the bench and hit five of his nine shots, 3-of-5 3s and 5-of-6 from the foul line. He also had three boards and three assists.
Why Each Team Dangerous
North Carolina: The Tar Heels are big, strong, athletic and run the floor well. There’s no better floor leader in college basketball than Marshall, who leads the nation in assists. Zeller, Barnes and John Henson, if he’s healthy, will cause anyone in the tournament matchup nightmares. UNC is second in the nation at 82 points per game while holding opponents to 66.9. The Tar Heels’ 56.3 rebound percent is third-best in the country. They also defend the rim, blocking 8.8 shots per game and altering many more.
Vermont: The Catamounts are a very good defensive team. They hold opponents to 60.5 points per game, 40 percent from the floor and 31.9 from the 3-point. Vermont are a decent shooting team, hitting 34.6 percent of their 3s and 74.2 percent from the foul line. The Cats’ 52.1 rebounding percentage is 52nd nationally and they get 11.1 offensive boards per game.
Why Each Team is Vulnerable
North Carolina: At some point, UNC’s lack of perimeter game and free throw shooting could be factors in this tournament, but it won’t be an issue on Friday.
Vermont: The Catamounts have some size, but nothing compared to UNC. Vermont plays great defense, but it won’t be able to slow the Tar Heels. It just isn’t a good matchup for the Cats.
The Bottom Line: This won’t be close, but the Heels will call off the dogs early, making this a difficult spread.
The Pick: North Carolina 72, Vermont 51
Greg Against the Spread This Season: 198-150-6 (Through Tuesday, March 14)