Greensboro, St. Louis and New Orleans is like the greatest hits of Tar Heel NCAA Tournament success.
Despite a loss in the ACC Championship game, UNC was still awarded the #3 overall seed and sent to the Midwest as the region's top seed. It was expected that the result of the ACC title game would have little, if any impact on UNC's seed situation. The Heels played without John Henson and still managed a shot to win the game which was more than enough to keep them at #3 overall.
You can see a full bracket here. The seeds in the Midwest are as follows: #1 UNC, #2 Kansas, #3 Georgetown, #4 Michigan, #5 Temple, #6 San Diego St., #7 St. Mary's #8 Creighton, #9 Alabama, #10 Purdue, #11 NC State, #12 Cal/USF winner, #13 Ohio, #14 Belmont, #15 Detroit, #16 Lamar/Vermont winner
UNC will play on Friday in Greensboro at around 4 PM on TBS versus the winner of the Lamar-Vermont First Four game. Assuming they win that game(I know, I still have to say it) the Heels would go against the winner of #8 Creighton and #9 Alabama. Creighton presents an interesting storyline in the form of Harrison Barnes' former high school teammate Doug McDermott who leads the Blue Jays in scoring.
Should the Heels advance to St. Louis and seeding holds UNC could face Michigan and then Kansas in a rematch of the 2008 Final Four. That is if seeding holds. Looking at the lower seeds in this bracket there are several good teams who could take out high seeds on the first two days of the tournament. #13 Ohio is a good team as is #14 Belmont who almost beat Duke in the first game of the season. #15 Detroit has excellent guard play and could give Kansas fits. NC State has been playing well of late and will be a popular pick for a 6-11 upset vs San Diego St.
At first glance, this doesn't look like a particularly tough bracket save the possible game with Kansas in St. Louis. Jayhawks fans will turn out for that one and Kansas has a quick PG and a national player of the year candidate big man.
Other NCAA Tournament observations:
- The ACC ended up with five teams in the Big Dance which was nice for a league everyone crapped on all season long. Besides the aforementioned #1 Tar Heels and #11 NC State, Duke was given the #2 seed in the South with #1 overall seed Kentucky. Florida State's ACC Championship was good for the #3 seed in the East while Virginia ended up the #10 seed in the West.
- Kentucky has a less than ideal bracket for a #1 overall but nothing they shouldn't be able to handle, especially with Duke as the #2 seed considering the Blue Devils might not actually make it that far. The Blue Devils could face either Xavier or Notre Dame in the 3rd round and then get a rematch from the 2010 Elite Eight against Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen.
- Of the potential interesting match-ups there is the possibility of a #1 Syracuse vs #4 Wisconsin in the East which would be a match-up of a the two things in college basketball I hate the most: slow tempo and the zone defense. There will be plenty of talk about Kentucky vs UConn then a possible rematch of UK-Indiana in the Sweet Sixteen. If Virginia can upset Florida, the Cavs would face Missouri and Frank Haith.
- The possibility of FSU surviving the East and making the Final Four is an intriguing one. FSU has not had much NCAA success under Leonard Hamilton but if there is ever a Seminole team that could get on a run for the Final Four it could be this one providing the players imagine every team they face is UNC.
- This is a wide open bracket. There will be a lot of UNC vs UK picks for the NCAA title game but unlike many years, it chalk may not be the way to go on your Final Four. All that means is buckle up, it is going to be an outstanding ride.