North Carolina vs. Texas Southern prediction and game preview, as the No. 1 Tar Heels and No. 16 Tigers face off in the NCAA Tournament.
Roy Williams has once again taken his team to The Big Dance. On Sunday, North Carolina was awarded the No. 1 seed in the South region of the bracket despite the Tar Heels getting bounced by Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals.
They’ll be going up against No. 16-seeded Texas Southern. The Tigers ended their 2016-17 regular season with a 23-11 mark.
Below is a complete preview and prediction for North Carolina vs. Texas Southern.
North Carolina vs. Texas Southern Game Preview
Date: March 17, 2017
Venue: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, S.C.
North Carolina Strengths
The Tar Heels won the nation’s toughest conference, the ACC, by two games during the regular season. They possess an excellent balanced offense, led by forward Justin Jackson, who can score in a variety of ways. What makes him especially dangerous is his improved outside shooting. Joel Berry II, who can also drain threes, is the catalyst of an offense that also features a deep frontcourt. Additionally, its offensive rebounding advantage leading to second-chance points makes the squad even tougher to beat.
North Carolina Weaknesses
UNC has struggled against zone defenses this year. The Tar Heels need to improve on attacking the zone with dribble drives and kickouts, pushing the ball in transition and getting to the free-throw line to combat it. The struggles were evident in games against Georgia Tech, Miami and Syracuse, in particular, when the Tar Heels settled for bad jump shots and 3-point attempts and looked stagnant on offense. Rebounding and second-chance points can only cover up so much.
UNC Tar Heels In-Depth Analysis
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Texas Southern Strengths
Mike Davis coached Indiana to the national championship game once upon a time, and he puts Texas Southern through a rough nonconference schedule each season in order to prep his team for moments like these. The Tigers played the likes of Louisville, Arizona and Baylor among other power-conference teams and won’t be intimidated heading into the Big Dance. They’ve won nine in a row and are led by SWAC player of the year Zach Lofton, who averages 17 points per game.
Texas Southern Weaknesses
Texas Southern’s 3-point shooting isn’t its strong point. It’s hitting 29.6 percent from long range, a mark that ranks 338th out of the 347 Division I teams. That won’t stop the Tigers from shooting 3s, though, and if they fall behind quickly, they’re going to be in deep trouble if some of those shots don’t start falling.
Texas Southern In-Depth Analysis
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North Carolina vs. Texas Southern By The Numbers
North Carolina Statistics
Scoring Margin: 14.7 (7th nationally)
Rebounding Margin: 13.0 (1)
Turnover Margin: 1.7 (74)
3-Point FG Percentage: 37.0% (83)
Texas Southern Statistics
Scoring Margin: 2.6 (145)
Rebounding Margin: 1.9 (264)
Turnover Margin: 1.9 (61)
3-Point FG Percentage: 29.6% (338)
North Carolina vs. Texas Southern Prediction
Joel Berry II and Justin Jackson are going to make it rain buckets, and the Tigers simply won’t be able to stop them. Open look after open look will fall for UNC, as the Tar Heels will take down Texas Southern by at least 20 points and move on in the tourney.
North Carolina vs. Texas Southern Score Prediction: North Carolina 88, Texas Southern 68