North Carolina coach Roy Williams will need his small lineup to play big against Villanova. ROY WILLIAMS
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina will begin play on Friday in the NCAA tournament in Kansas City. The Tar Heels, seeded eighth in the South Region, will play against No. 9 Villanova. The winner would likely play against Kansas, the region’s top seed, on Sunday.
The possibility of a UNC-Kansas game in the round of 32 is intriguing. It probably has the TV people excited. After all, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams spent 15 seasons as the Jayhawks’ head coach. But first things first. And first up for UNC is Villanova.
Some things to know about the Wildcats:
Record: 20-13 (10-8 Big East)
Last 10: 6-4
Good wins (against top-50 RPI teams): 73-64 vs. Louisville on Jan. 22; 75-71 vs. Syracuse on Jan. 26; 70-61 at Connecticut on Feb. 16; 60-56 vs. Marquette on Feb. 23; 67-57 vs. Georgetown on March 6.
Bad losses (against sub-100 RPI teams): 75-57 vs. Columbia on Nov. 20; 66-65 at Seton Hall on Feb. 25.
F Mouphtaou Yarou, 6-10/250, 9.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg
F JayVaughn Pinkston, 6-6/240, 13.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg
G James Bell, 6-6/225, 8.7 ppg, 4.2 ppg
G Ryan Arcidiacono, 6-3/195, 12 ppg, 3.5 apg
G Darrun Hilliard, 6-6/205, 11.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Other players to know
F Daniel Ochefu, 6-11/245, 3.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
F Maurice Sutton, 6-11/225, 3.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg
G Tony Chennault, 6-2/195, 3.6 rpg, 4.1 rpg
G Achraf Yacoubou, 6-4/210, 2.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Things Villanova does well:
--Get to the free throw line. The Wildcats lead the nation in free throws made (626) and attempts (870).
--Defensive rebounding. The Wildcats’ defensive rebounding percentage of 70.9 leads the Big East.
Things Villanova doesn’t do well:
--Take care of the ball. The Wildcats’ 517 turnovers are 12th-most in the country.
--Keep opponents off the free throw line. The 713 free throw attempts Villanova allowed were most in Big East.
Number to know:
6. During the regular season, Villanova was 14-1 when it made six or more 3-pointers. When they made less than six 3-pointers, the Wildcats were 5-11.
Cause for concern for UNC:
The Wildcats have plenty of size. The starting lineup isn’t all that tall, but JayVaughn Pinkston is a load inside at power forward, and Mouphtaou Yarou will be a physical challenge for James Michael McAdoo. The Wildcats also bring two 6-foot-11 forwards off the bench.