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March 16, 2016Basketball

2016 NCAA Tournament: Let the Madness Begin

March 17, 2016 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports) By: Stephen Patrick

2016 NCAA Tournament: Let the Madness Begin

The NCAA tournament field is set, and now it’s time to begin filling out your bracket. It’s that time of the year when legends are born and legacy has are defined. Heroes made and memories will forever be remembered. The ACC had 7 teams tied with the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12(Louisville self-imposed ban would’ve made it 8). Another year of the 15-team ACC brought an extraordinary number of NCAA tournament berths. No one complained for a second. The league over the years has become the premier college basketball conference.

The ACC got a second No. 1 seed at the expense of Michigan State. Regular-season and tournament champion North Carolina are joined by title-game loser Virginia. This was not only a sign of respect for the ACC but a harbinger of success for the conference in the NCAA tournament.

This is an important stat for the ACC conference and fans. The four previous times the ACC had two No. 1 seeds from the selection committee, an ACC team won the national title three times. In 1982 and 2005, that was North Carolina and that bodes well for the Tar Heels of 2016. North Carolina seems to be the most talented team 2016.Even though its performances this season haven’t always showcased that top level potential. The Tar Heels won their first conference tournament title since 200 in a rugged 61–57 victory against Virginia in the ACC finals. After bullying Virginia which included holding the Cavaliers scoreless for an eight-minute stretch, there might not be any team flying higher heading into the NCAA tournament. That victory came on the heels of a 31-point blowout of Notre Dame in the semis.

North Carolina will be playing in what has been called the region of death. The East is loaded with Xavier, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana are the top 5 seeds. Senior Marcus Paige leads the savvy Tarheels. Being in many NCAA tournament games he will the key to be the calm influence that settles the teams during adversity.

Down under the basket resides Brice Johnson. He is the Tar Heels’ leading scorer (16.6 points per game) and rebounder (10.6). He used to draw the ire of head coach Roy Williams because of his inconsistency. But that has most certainly changed during the 2015-2016 season. This has not been an issue for Johnson as a senior, as he scored in double figures in all but three games. His best effort was a 39-point, 23-rebound performance against Florida State. Against their biggest rivals in two games against Duke, he averaged 23.5 points and 20 boards. The 6’10”, 230-pound Johnson runs the court extremely well for a big man and has a nice touch on his shot. He’s connecting on 61.4 percent of his field goals. UNC has all the makings of a championship team. Roy looks to add another trophy as he solidifies himself on par with former UNC coach Dean Smith.

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