North Carolina will begin play in the NCAA tournament on Friday against Providence in San Antonio. The Tar Heels are the sixth seed in the East, the Friars the 11th seed, and the winner of that game will play on Sunday against the winner between No. 3 seed Iowa State and No. 14 N.C. Central.
This is a difficult draw for UNC. I wrote about that right here.
Providence enters the NCAA tournament with no shortage of momentum. The Friars won the Big East tournament, and they’ve won seven of their past nine games, with the only losses in that span against Villanova, in double overtime, and Creighton, which Providence then defeated in its conference tournament championship.
Some things to know about the Friars …
Record: 23-11 (10-8 Big East, tied for 3rd)
Trending: Up. Providence has won seven of its past nine, and won the Big East tournament.
Last 10 games: 7-3
--40th in Pomeroy
--40th in RPI
--46th in Sagarin
Wins against top-50 RPI teams:
--vs. Creighton, 81-68, Jan. 18
--vs. Creighton (Big East tournament championship), 65-58, March 15
Losses against sub-100 RPI teams:
--vs. Seton Hall, 81-80, Dec. 31
Against opponents that UNC also faced:
--W vs. Boston College, 82-78 (OT), Nov. 8
--L vs. Maryland (neutral court), 56-52, Nov. 25
--L vs. Kentucky, 79-65 (neutral court), 79-65, Dec. 1
Statistical strengths (top 50 nationally):
--Free throw shooting (78.1 percent; 2nd nationally)
--Rebounding percentage (52.8 percent; 33rd nationally)
--Blocks per game (4.8; 47th nationally)
--Offensive rebounding percentage (35.5 percent; 49th nationally)
Statistical weaknesses (250th or worse nationally):
--Fouls per game (17.3; 296th nationally)
--Possessions per game (65.3; 277th nationally)
--Field goal percentage (42.5 percent; 263rd nationally)
Top three players:
--Bryce Cotton, 6-1, Sr., PG; 21.4 ppg, 5.8 apg
--Kadeem Batts, 6-9, Sr., C; 12.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg
--LaDontae Henton, 6-6, Jr., SF; 13.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg
One more to know:
--Tyler Harris, 6-9, Soph., PF; 11.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Cotton leads the nation in minutes played, and he averages 39.9 minutes per game. … Harris played his freshman season at N.C. State. … Providence has three players who are shooting at least 35.7 percent from 3-point range. All three have attempted at least 131 3-pointers this season. … The Friars’ top five three throw shooters have all made at least 74.1 percent of their attempts at the line.