North Carolina - Michigan State Preview
North Carolina Tar Heels (1) Vs. Michigan State Spartans (9)
Saturday, 3/17 @ 8:15
Betting Line From Bookmaker: North Carolina -10
First seed UNC was in control from the tip-off against first round opponent Eastern Kentucky. At the half, the Tar Heels were ahead by 12 and in the end they had soundly beaten the Eastern Kentucky Colonels 86- 65. For Michigan State, it was pretty much the same scenario in their first round contest against Marquette. The Spartans led from the beginning and went into the locker room with a 12-point lead and won by the same margin.
UNC was hot from the field, hitting 65% of its shots. However, it only made 55% of its free throws—a scary stat. It will have to do better than that to go deep into the tournament. Normally, the Tar Heels hit 51% from the court and 71% from the charity line. The team’s 46% three-point grade was much better than its season average of 36%.
The Tar Heels got double digit scoring from all five starters and 10 more points from the bench. Sophomore forward Tyler Hansbrough led all players with 21 points and 10 rebounds, notching a double-double. Senior Reyshawn Terry put in 18 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. First-year forward Brandan Wright blocked 5 shots while putting up a baker’s dozen worth of points.
Michigan State’s defense worked Marquette over, forcing them into taking bad shots and resulting in a 32% completion rate from the field. The Spartans hit 54% from the floor and 87% from the free throw line, while shooting 40% from the three-point mark. All five starters contributed, while sound scoring came from the bench.
Freshman forward Raymar Morgan led the team in rebounds with 9 and in points with 14. Sophomore forward Marquise Gray put in 12 points and took in 5 rebounds and junior guard Drew Neitzel added a dozen more points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds.
UNC meets a tough defense when it goes up against Michigan State in round two. Look for its completion rates from the court to drop, which means its foul shooting will need to be better than it was in the first round. The Spartans come in having put in a full team effort in round one.