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Tale of the tape

NCAA Tournament First Round: #8 UNC Vs. #9 Villanova

(credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) (credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)
(credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) (credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

#8 UNC

#9 Villanova

Roy Williams has led Kansas and North Carolina teams to seven Final Fours and won two NCAA championships. His résumé is as strong as any coach in college basketball today. Coaching Jay Wright did an underrated job with the Wildcats this year, transforming a floundering young squad (they lost by 18 to Columbia!) into a deserving tournament team.
North Carolina was 14th in the nation in points per game and third in assists, while shooting a respectable 44.4 percent from the field. The Tar Heel offense is potent. Offense The Wildcats have one of the worst offenses among tourney teams, shooting a paltry 41.5 percent as a team while, for the most part, banging out gritty victories.
Stifling opponents’ offenses is not one of North Carolina’s strengths, but the Tar Heels rely heavily on forcing turnovers (they average eight steals a game) and securing rebounds. Defense It’s not exactly the Liberty Bell curtain there in Philadelphia, but the Wildcats made huge strides in fortifying the paint. Their improved play started on the defensive end.
Junior guard Leslie McDonald has been their biggest bench contributor of late, where he acts almost exclusively as a three-point shooter. The rest of the bench can be erratic. Bench Depth Tony Chennault and freshman Daniel Ochefu are Villanova’s bench standbys, but neither one of them has been especially productive. Like the Tar Heels, Nova will live and die with its starters.

The winner is

(credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
#8 UNC
3 out of 4

Statistically speaking, North Carolina is the superior unit, but Villanova improved drastically after some early-season jitters. Slight edge to UNC.

-Adam Spunberg, College Basketball Contributor

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