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Tar Heels Take On High-Powered Cyclones For Sweet 16 Berth

Fresh off their gritty escape over Providence Friday night, the No. 6 seeded North Carolina men’s basketball team face a formidable challenge in the Iowa State Cyclones, the No. 3 seed, in the Round of 32 Sunday at 5:15 p.m. in San Antonio.

***Listen to the story***

The Tar Heels have new life. Somehow, they were able to withstand an NCAA Tournament performance for the ages by Providence’s Bryce Cotton to keep dancing.

Head Coach Roy Williams says he was proud of his team’s toughness and resiliency down the stretch Friday night.

“The kids kept fighting. I talked about how tough we have to be the last four minutes. I thought our guys were really tough. They made some big-time plays,” Coach Williams says.

But next up for the Tar Heels are the Iowa State Cyclones, one of the premier offensive units in the country. The Cyclones tore apart the NC Central Eagles in their opening contest, seemingly scoring at will from anywhere on the court.

Sophomore Brice Johnson says it was important for Carolina to reassert its dominance on the glass in their NCAA opener. That will certainly be another key Sunday against IowaState.

“In practice, Coach has been getting on us every day about getting to the glass and getting second chance points. That’s the big thing that he’s been emphasizing that last couple days in practice. That’s the one thing that we wanted to do,” Johnson says.

Bench on their feet! (Todd Melet)

Bench on their feet! (Todd Melet)

But the Tar Heels may have caught a lucky break. Cyclone center Georges Niang broke his foot in the NC Central game and has been ruled out for the remainder of the Tournament.

How vital is Niang to the Cyclone offense? He averaged 16.5 points per game and can just as easily pop three-pointers as conduct work around the basket.

Carolina will still need to be at its best Sunday as Iowa State has plenty of other offensive weaponry, including DeAndre Kane. Kane posted 14 points and seven rebounds in the opening game.

The Big 12 Tournament champions opened as a 1-point favorite over the Tar Heels.

Head Coach Roy Williams will be leaning on his star performers to get the Tar Heels to the Sweet Sixteen. He says the leadership of juniors James Michael McAdoo and Marcus Paige has made his job a lot easier this season.

“Marcus and James Michael are great leaders. They’re leaders by how well they play. They’re leaders by how intelligent they are. They’re leaders by how unselfish they are. But when they say something, the other kids listen to them as well,” Coach Williams says.

A win over Iowa State on Sunday would send Carolina to a 32nd appearance in the Sweet Sixteen, an NCAA record, and book the Tar Heels a trip up to Madison Square Garden next weekend.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-take-high-powered-cyclones-sweet-16-berth/

Tar Heels Survive Cotton, Friars 79-77 To Advance In NCAAT

The North Carolina men’s basketball team survived Bryce Cotton’s 36 points and edged Providence 79-77 to advance to the NCAA Tournament Round of 32.

With the win, Carolina is now 24-9 on the season and improved to 110-42 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

Marcus Paige led the Tar Heels in scoring with 19 points, the 13th time this season he has led the Tar Heels in scoring.

Crucially, UNC bagged 21 offensive rebounds Friday night, its highest production on the offensive glass since grabbing 22 against NC State on Feb. 1.

Ironically for the Tar Heels, James Michael McAdoo, who has struggled mightily all year with free throws, was sent to the foul line in the waning seconds with the game hanging in the balance.

The junior made a pair of them to seal the victory for the Tar Heels and with it, preserve Head Coach Roy Williams’ unbeaten streak in NCAA Tournament opening games.

In addition, the win was  Coach Williams’ 724th of his career, tying him with DePaul’s Ray Meyer for 19th place in NCAA  history. Coach Williams is now 724-189 in 26 seasons, including 306-88 at North Carolina.

Coach Williams said he was proud of his team’s toughness and resiliency to come back after giving up the lead late.

***Listen to the postgame remarks***

Kennedy Meeks recorded 12 points and five rebounds to aid the Carolina cause. He was 6 for 8 from the floor. It was his first scoring game in double figures since he had 15 against Wake Forest six games ago on Feb. 22.

When leading at the half this season, Carolina is a perfect 18-0.

Next up for the Tar Heels is a Round of 32 matchup against hot-shooting Iowa State, winners over N.C. Central Friday night. The Tar Heels and Cyclones will square off Sunday in San Antonio with a spot in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen on the line.

Click here for the complete game photo gallery.

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-survive-cotton-friars-79-77-advance-ncaat/

Tar Heels in San Antonio: A Conversation with UNC Athletics’ Steve Kirschner

WCHL’s Matt Oakes had the chance to chat with UNC’s Senior Associate Athletic Director Steve Kirschner as the Tar Heel men’s basketball team gets set to embark on its NCAA Tournament journey Friday night in San Antonio against the Providence Friars.

 

J.P. Tokoto on defense (Todd Melet)

Leslie McDonald on defense (Todd Melet)

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-san-antonio-conversation-unc-athletics-steve-kirschner/

Talented UNC Women Get NCAA No. 4 Seed, Face No. 13 UT-Martin Sunday

The 24-9 North Carolina women’s basketball team found out its NCAA Tournament fate Monday night. The Tar Heels are a No. 4 seed in the Stanford bracket.

But UNC will have the chance to play in the cozy confines of Carmichael Arena for the first couple rounds and will get their NCAA Tournament underway against No. 13 seed UT-Martin, 24-7 in the regular season.

The Tar Heels will tip things off at 3 p.m. Sunday in their NCAA opener. The Skyhawks claimed the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title with a 78-66 victory over the Bruins of Belmont.

Also joining the Tar Heels in the Chapel Hill regional will be No. 5 seed Michigan State and No. 12 seed Hampton.

Only one school will book a ticket to the Sweet 16. The No. 1 seed in Carolina’s bracket is South Carolina, a team the Tar Heels beat earlier in the season. A deep run is possible.

It is still unknown whether Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell will join her team on the sidelines for the NCAA Tournament, but a return has not been ruled out by her doctors.

“This is a great opportunity for our team. We have a young team with a lot of talent and I’m glad we will be able to start the NCAA Tournament at home at Carmichael Arena,” Coach Hatchell says.

Click here for the complete bracket.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/talented-unc-women-get-ncaa-4-seed-face-13-ut-martin-sunday-carmichael/

Texas Bound Tar Heel Men Eye NCAA Tournament Run

The North Carolina men’s basketball team will have a chance to wipe the sour taste of its loss to Pittsburgh in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals when it faces Big East Tournament champion Providence in its opening game of the NCAA Tournament in San Antonio.

***Listen to the story***

“I thought we were going to come back and win the game, especially when we got it down to single digits. I thought it was going to be one of the great finishes. I really believed that. People think I’m a little wacko any way. You got to try something different,” Coach Williams says.

Carolina waited too long to turn on the engines against Pitt. UNC will certainly need to bring it’s best for a complete 40 minutes if it hopes to experience that winning feeling again.

The Tar Heels will begin their NCAA journey in San Antonio as the No. 6 seed in the Tournament. First up, will be the No. 11 Providence Friars. The Friars will pose a formidable challenge as they downed No. 3 seed Creighton in the Big East championship game.

Coach Williams says he still believes Carolina has something left in store for the Big Dance.

“Don’t bury us yet. We still got some play left,” Coach Williams says.

Tar Heel defense (Todd Melet)

Tar Heel defense (Todd Melet)

UNC won’t be the only Triangle team featured in the San Antonio region. The Eagles of N.C. Central, located in Durham, will join them.

The winner of Tar Heels-Friars contest will play the winner of the game between No. 3 seed IowaState and No. 14 seed NC Central on Sunday.

Sophomore point guard Marcus Paige says he and his teammates are confident in their abilities to flip the switch on their recent fortunes.

“We’re still doing things well. Our confidence isn’t all lost. We just got to get back to work and fine-tune some things. We have to understand that you got to come ready to play against anyone for 40 minutes, not for ten,” Paige says.

The Tar Heels return to the NCAA field this season for the 10th time in 11 years under Coach Williams. Coach Williams has led Carolina to a 28-7 overall record in the NCAA Tournament.

“We have had some outstanding wins this year, both in and out of league play, over teams that received some very high seeds in the field, so we know we are capable. But we must play better than we have over the last two weeks if we want to reach our big-time dreams,” Coach Williams says.

The Tar Heels are 20-5 in NCAA Tournament play in their last six appearances, advancing to the Elite Eight in 2007, 2011 and 2012, the Final Four in 2008 and winning the title in 2009.

Carolina is making its third NCAA Tournament appearance as a No. 6 seed and has a 2-2 record as a No. 6, going 1-1 in both 1996 and 2004.

And with the way this season has gone for these up-and-down Tar Heels, it’s anyone’s guess how far they’ll go in March Madness, seemingly just as likely to lose in the first round as advance to the Final Four.

ACC and Triangle Teams’ Schedules

No. 6 East – Carolina v. No. 11 Providence – Friday 7:20p TNT
No. 1 East – Virginia v. No. 16 Coastal Carolina – Friday 9:25p TBS
No. 3 Midwest – Duke v. No. 14 Mercer – Friday 12:15p CBS
No. 12 First Round (Midwest) – NC State v. No. 12 Xavier – Tuesday 9:10p truTV
No. 3 South – Syracuse v. No. 14 Western Michigan – Thurs 2:45p CBS
No. 9 South – Pittsburgh v. No. 8 Colorado – Thursday 1:40p TBS
No. 14 East – NC Central v. No. 3 Iowa State – Friday 9:50p TNT

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/texas-bound-tar-heel-men-eye-ncaa-tournament-run/

Omaha-Bound Heels Def. Gamecocks, 5-4

Photo Courtesy: Go Heels

CHAPEL HILL – UNC rallied with a three-run sixth inning Tuesday to edge South Carolina, 5-4, and earn a trip to the College World Series for the sixth time in the last eight years. By surviving the Super Regional, the top-seeded Tar Heels will travel halfway across the country to face rival N.C. State this Sunday at 3 p.m. in Omaha.

“I just can’t remember some of the other ways we got there [to the College World Series].  This one is sweet. This one is very special,” UNC Head Coach Mike Fox said. “It doesn’t really matter how you get there. Baseball is a tough game and you never know how it will go. At the end of that day, we are going. That is the most important thing.”

It was Colin Moran’s RBI triple that sparked the comeback to give the Heels the victory, scoring Landon Lassiter to cut the South Carolina lead to 4-3.

A throwing error by Gamecock pitcher Adam Westmoreland allowed Moran to score the tying run.

Westmoreland, who had hit Skye Bolt with a pitch, then walked catcher Brian Holberton and second baseman Mike Zolk to load the bases. He was replaced by lefty Tyler Webb, who took left fielder Parks Jordan to a full count before walking him on an inside pitch to force in Bolt with what proved to be the winning run.

The Tar Heels shut out the Gamecocks in their last three at bats, with lefty ace Kent Emanuel coming in to nail down the save by getting the last two outs in the ninth on just two pitches.

“It didn’t matter if I would have given up 20 runs or thrown a perfect game. It’s always going to be the same. I’m there to compete against the batter and get him out,” Emanuel said. “It really doesn’t factor in to how I pitch, what happens before.”

Trent Thornton (11-1) notched the win, allowing one earned run over 4 2/3 innings after relieving starter Benton Moss in the third. None of UNC’s three starters over the weekend made it through three full innings.

UNC faced freshman lefty Jack Wynkoop, who entered the game with a 7-3 record and 2.92 ERA in 61.2 innings for the Gamecocks. Westmoreland went 3 1/3 innings but sealed his own fate as the loser with his errant throw and by hitting Bolt in the sixth.

South Carolina took an early lead with a run in the second, but Holberton blasted a two-run homer over the right field fence in the bottom of the second.

The Gamecocks regained the lead in the fifth when Tar Heel centerfielder Chaz Frank dropped a fly ball, allowing two runs to score.

“I just told them to relax. It’s not a big deal,” Thornton said about how how he maintained his composure following the error. “We knew we would comeback. Everybody wanted to win it for Chaz, especially after that play.”

The visitors from the Southeastern Conference added a single run in the top half of the sixth, setting up the dramatic rally to follow.

After throwing 88 pitches, Thornton was relieved by Chris McCue in the eighth.

In the top of the ninth, after McCue walked the potential tying run, Emanuel got DH LB Dantzler to fly out to left on the first pitch and catcher Grayson Greiner to force the runner at second on his next pitch. Emanuel, who has now thrown 240 pitches in the NCAA tournament, has at least four days rest before his first start in the 2013 College World Series.

Carolina improved to 57-10 while the Gamecocks finish the season at 43-20. The Tar Heels are expected to face N.C. State ace lefthander Carlos Rodon in their CWS opener Sunday at 3 p.m.

 

Hear the full-press conference:

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/omaha-bound-heels-def-gamecocks-5-4-2/

UNC Baseball Gets No. 1 Seed in NCAA Tournament

CHAPEL HILL - UNC Baseball earned a No. 1 national seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament. The Heels will host Florida Atlantic, Towson and Canisius in the Chapel Hill Regional.

It’s the first time in program history UNC is the top overall seed in the tournament.

The 64-team tournament field was announced Monday on ESPNU.

The ACC regular season and tournament champion Heels (52-8) will meet the No. 4 seed Canisius (41-15), the Metro Atlantic Athletic champions, at 6 p.m. Friday at Boshamer Stadium.

The tournament opener will take place at 1 p.m. with No. 2 seed Florida Atlantic (39-20), the Sun Belt champions, meeting No. 3 seed Towson (29-28), champions of the Colonial Athletic Conference.

The Chapel Hill Regional champion will advance to face the winner of the Columbia Regional in the Super Regional round for the right to advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

The Heels are 52-27 in NCAA play under Mike Fox and are 17-2 at home in regional play since 2006.

Carolina is 1-0 all-time against Canisius with the only meeting a 10-5 Carolina win during the 1958 season.

UNC is  3-0 against Florida Atlantic after a series-opening sweep in Boca Raton during the 2008 season. Carolina owns a 25-2 all-time advantage over Towson since the series began in 1969. The Heels have won 12 straight against the Tigers with the last meeting coming in 2007.

 

2013 NCAA Chapel Hill Regional Schedule


Friday, May 31
Game 1: #2 Florida Atlantic (39-20) vs. #3 Towson (29-28), 1 p.m.
Game 2: #1 North Carolina (52-8) vs. #4 Canisius (41-15), 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 1
Game 3: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 2
Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 6 p.m.
Monday, June 3
Game 7: 6 p.m. – If necessary

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-baseball-gets-no/

Heels Hoping Nova Doesn’t Go

KANSAS CITY – The NCAA Tournament begins for Carolina on Friday night, when the eighth-seeded Tar Heels take on ninth-seeded Villanova at 7:20 in Kansas City.

Many Carolina fans are already looking ahead to the round of 32—when the Heels would likely take on Kansas—but Andrew Jones of FoxSportsCarolinas.com says the Wildcats present a major challenge of their own.

“Carolina’s won 24 games without notching a really good win,” he says. “If they win this game, (it) might be their best win of the year up to that point.”

Still, Carolina enters the tourney riding high: since switching to its smaller lineup in February, the Heels have lost only three games—all to Duke and Miami, both of which are ranked in the top 10.

That late-season run had many observers projecting UNC as a six- or seven-seed in the tournament. Receiving a no. 8 seed was something of a disappointment—especially with the prospect of a matchup with Kansas, Roy Williams’ former team, in Kansas City on Sunday.

Jones says the Heels deserved better.

“To be an 8 (seed), and then to put them in that situation (having to face the Jayhawks in Kansas), I think is just wrong,” he says. “I think UNC got screwed–I think all four ACC teams (in the tournament) got screwed.”

Nevertheless, Jones says he’s picking Carolina to win narrowly on Friday. The Tar Heels enter the game with three players scoring more than 14 points a game—James Michael McAdoo, P.J. Hairston, and Reggie Bullock. Villanova’s leading scorer is sophomore forward JayVaughn Pinkston, with 13.1 points per game—and Villanova’s three leading scorers are all freshmen and sophomores, so Carolina may have a rare edge in experience as well.

And while Kansas still looms large as a possible opponent on Sunday, Jones says even that’s not a done deal: the Jayhawks have to get past sixteenth-seeded Western Kentucky first, and Jones says that’s a taller order than it may appear.

“If there ever was a 16 seed that’s going to beat a 1, this would be the kind of game where it could happen,” he says. “Kansas lost to TCU earlier, and I’d be willing to bet that Western Kentucky’s better than TCU.”

UNC tips off against Villanova Friday at 7:20 in Kansas City. Coverage on WCHL begins at 5:00 with Countdown to Tipoff, presented by Harrington Bank.

Roy Williams has never lost as a head coach in the round of 64—he’s 22-0 in more than two decades with Kansas and UNC—and if he can keep that streak going this year, it could bode well for Carolina’s long-term chances. UNC and Villanova have met five times in the NCAA tournament—and all five times, the victor has gone on to the Final Four, winning the national championship all but once.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/heels-hoping-nova-doesnt-go/

Heels Hoping Nova Doesn’t Go

KANSAS CITY – The NCAA Tournament begins for Carolina on Friday night, when the eighth-seeded Tar Heels take on ninth-seeded Villanova at 7:20 in Kansas City.

Many Carolina fans are already looking ahead to the round of 32—when the Heels would likely take on Kansas—but Andrew Jones of FoxSportsCarolinas.com says the Wildcats present a major challenge of their own.

“Carolina’s won 24 games without notching a really good win,” he says. “If they win this game, (it) might be their best win of the year up to that point.”

Still, Carolina enters the tourney riding high: since switching to its smaller lineup in February, the Heels have lost only three games—all to Duke and Miami, both of which are ranked in the top 10.

That late-season run had many observers projecting UNC as a six- or seven-seed in the tournament. Receiving a no. 8 seed was something of a disappointment—especially with the prospect of a matchup with Kansas, Roy Williams’ former team, in Kansas City on Sunday.

Jones says the Heels deserved better.

“To be an 8 (seed), and then to put them in that situation (having to face the Jayhawks in Kansas), I think is just wrong,” he says. “I think UNC got screwed–I think all four ACC teams (in the tournament) got screwed.”

Nevertheless, Jones says he’s picking Carolina to win narrowly on Friday. The Tar Heels enter the game with three players scoring more than 14 points a game—James Michael McAdoo, P.J. Hairston, and Reggie Bullock. Villanova’s leading scorer is sophomore forward JayVaughn Pinkston, with 13.1 points per game—and Villanova’s three leading scorers are all freshmen and sophomores, so Carolina may have a rare edge in experience as well.

And while Kansas still looms large as a possible opponent on Sunday, Jones says even that’s not a done deal: the Jayhawks have to get past sixteenth-seeded Western Kentucky first, and Jones says that’s a taller order than it may appear.

“If there ever was a 16 seed that’s going to beat a 1, this would be the kind of game where it could happen,” he says. “Kansas lost to TCU earlier, and I’d be willing to bet that Western Kentucky’s better than TCU.”

UNC tips off against Villanova Friday at 7:20 in Kansas City. Coverage on WCHL begins at 5:00 with Countdown to Tipoff, presented by Harrington Bank.

Roy Williams has never lost as a head coach in the round of 64—he’s 22-0 in more than two decades with Kansas and UNC—and if he can keep that streak going this year, it could bode well for Carolina’s long-term chances. UNC and Villanova have met five times in the NCAA tournament—and all five times, the victor has gone on to the Final Four, winning the national championship all but once.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/heels-hoping-nova-doesnt-go-2/