Looking at the brackets before the tournament started, every Gonzaga fan knew that this would be the match up if the Zags took care of business. The Heels are one of the most storied programs in the nation and there is no question that this will be a game that the entire nation will be watching. Here are a few thoughts about North Carolina...
Update: The game will be at 7:00 PM PST and will be called by Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg
- The initial point spreads are to be expected. The Zags open up as 8-8.5 point underdogs and I don't expect that line to budge much before Friday.
- It will be exciting to watch a tournament game where the pressure is not squarely on Gonzaga's shoulders. The first two games were games that Gonzaga "was supposed" to win. Friday's game will be fun because everyone is expecting Carolina to advance as they are most people's choice for national champion. I expect that team to take that underdog role and really come out attacking rather than playing on their heels.
- The game will be loaded with fun matchups. Heytvelt vs. Hansbrough will be the one that everyone is watching. Danny Green's versatility will present some match up issues and it will be interesting to see how Mark Few uses Austin Daye on defense and whether or not he chooses to employ the zone since Carolina is not full of lights out shooters aside from Wayne Ellington.
- Ty Lawson is 100%. The ACC Player of the Year scored 21 point in the second half of their second round matchup with LSU and carried them to victory. It is going to be hard to match his quickness and size. Demetri Goodson should get plenty of looks against the outstanding point guard.
- We do have the upper hand historically as the Zags defeated the Tarheels in the Preseason NIT a few years ago. Most Gonzaga fans will remember this game as Josh Heytvelt's best performance as a Gonzaga Bulldog. Josh dominated Tyler Hansbrough the entire evening. The bad news is that Hansbrough will probably be out for some major revenge.
We'll have plenty of coverage on the game throughout the week. Hopefully we can get some Gonzaga faithful down to Memphis to combat what should be a very pro-Carolina crowd. It's hard to imagine a more appealing regional than the one in Memphis. The Oklahoma-Syracuse matchup should be outstanding as well.