Record: 27-7 overall, finished 14-2 and won the ACC regular-season title.
Seed: 2. RPI: 6. Bid: At large.
Coach: Roy Williams has a 223-61 record in his eighth season at North Carolina. He spent 15 years at Kansas, where he compiled a 418-101 record. Williams has a 55-18 NCAA tournament record
Tournament record: 103-39. North Carolina has won five (1957, ’82, ’93, ’05 and ’09) national championships. The Tar Heels have made 18 Final Four appearances.
Last tournament appearance: Beat Michigan State 89-72 to win the 2009 national championship.
Last game: Beat Long Island 102-87 in the NCAA tournament second round on Friday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Freshman forward Harrison Barnes won the ACC Freshman of the Year award. He’s the ninth Tar Heel to win the award. He was also a second team all-conference. … Barnes is averaging 22.1 points in the past seven games. He scored 40 points against Clemson last week in ACC tournament. … He leads UNC in scoring with 15.3 points per game. He’s also first on the team in three-pointers (58) and free throw percentage (.75.2).
Junior forward Tyler Zeller (above) is one of five players selected to the Academic All-America first team. He was a second-team all-conference pick. … Zeller leads the ACC with a 54.3 field goal percentage. He’s second on the team with a 15.0 scoring average and has led UNC in scoring in 12 games. … Zeller draws a lot of fouls. He’s made more free throws than any other UNC plaeyr has attempted. …
Sophomore forward John Henson is also a second-team all-conference pick and was voted the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He’s scored in double figures 32 times, grabbed at least 10 rebounds 24 times and has 17 double doubles. … Henson has blocked a shot in 31 games this season. On Friday he had six blocks and he’s eighth in the nation averaging 3.2 blocks per game.
— The Tar Heels use just 2-3 reserves. G Leslie McDonald missed five three-pointers Friday. Forwards Justin Watts and Justin Knox played sparingly in the 2009 national championship run.
— Carolina is 9-1 in the last 10 games.
— The Tar Heels are 20-7 as a No. 2 seed.
— UNC has made it the Final Four six of seven times when it has played in North Carolina during the tournament. The lone exception was in 2007 when it lost in the Elite Eight.
— UNC has won more tournament games (103) than any other team. A win Sunday sends the Tar Heels to their NCAA-record 24th Sweet 16 appearance.
F – John Henson, 6-10, So., 11.9 ppg., 10.1 rpg., 3.2 bpg.
F – Harrison Barnes, 6-8, Fr., 15.3, 5.9, 1.4 apg.
C – Tyler Zeller, 7-0, Jr., 15.0, 7.1, 1.2
G – Dexter Strickland, 6-3, So., 7.3, 3.1, 2.2
G – Kendall Marshall, 6-3, Fr., 6.0, 1.9, 5.9
G – Leslie McDonald, 6-4, So., 7.3, 2.1, 0.6
F – Justin Knox, 6-9, Sr., 4.8, 3.3, 0.4
F – Justin Watts, 6-4, Jr., 2.1, 2.0, 0.6
QUOTES FROM SATURDAY:
Do you know anybody that plays for Washington, have you played against any of those guys? If so, when, where? And also playing here in Charlotte, is this like a home game for you guys?
DEXTER STRICKLAND: “I’m familiar playing with Isaiah Thomas in AAU games and stuff like that. I pretty much know his game and know what he’s capable of doing.”
HARRISON BARNES: “I played with Isaiah Thomas at the Chris Paul Camp. He was an extremely gifted basketball player. He’s got unbelievable basketball IQ. Being able to play in Charlotte will help us a little bit because we have a nice fan base. They have fans here, too, so it will be kind of like a neutral site.”
Do you think there’s an advantage to playing this close to your campus?
STRICKLAND: “I think it is. We’re two hours away and we know we have a lot of fans here supporting us. So the intensity of the crowd will help us get more intensity and play with a better sense of urgency.”
You’ve had some teams try and slow it down against you this year. I’m assuming you’re not guessing tomorrow is going to be one of those 52/50 games?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: “We even had a 48-46 games. That was the shocker of all shocks. We were trying to score. That’s what was really bad. I think that they’ll play the way they’ve played. We’re going to play the way that we’ve always played. We’re going to try to run the ball. Lorenzo (Romar) and his club will try to run the ball because that’s one of their strengths. They average 83 a game. We average not as much as I would like but low 80. I think we’ll see the basketball go up and down. The thing that we always worry about. We go up and down quite a lot. We need to make a few more shots. It would help if some of those shots go in the basket, too.”
With a team that can score many different ways that Washington can, how important is discipline especially with the big guys, when to help out and all?
WILLIAMS: “It’s probably two things. It’s more important when it’s a fast tempo. Sometimes it’s less important because you know you’re going to have so many more possessions, too. But for us, with each step in the tournament, your defense has to get stronger and stronger and stronger because of the quality of the opposition gets stronger and stronger. It’s something we have to do a good job of there.
“The big guys especially, with their three-point shooters, with their penetrating guard, we have to be aware of that you can’t necessarily go flying up the lane because then he just dumps it behind you and it’s a dunk on top of you. It’s really the discipline on everybody’s part, not just your big guys.”