#4 2012 vs #5 1985
Starters and Bench
|James Michael McAdoo
On paper this looks like it could be more lopsided than your normal #4 vs #5 match-up. That probably speaks to the fact 2012 might be underseeded a bit thanks, in part, to not making it to the Final Four or winning the title. The rankings do lean a little on end-of-season accomplishments which is why 2012 and 1984 are down the overall list a bit despite potentially being better than the top seeds in their brackets. In fact, should 2012 advance here that 1993 vs 2012 game could produce the first significant upset of the tournament.
The problem for 1985 here is three point shooting. The three point line was not in effect in 1985(it came two years later) so we have no idea how it would impact that team. Since there was no benefit to long range shots, UNC relied heavily on interior play which is how you ended up with a "big" lineup of Brad Daugherty, Joe Wolf and Dave Popson. Popson could be a match-up issue for Harrison Barnes at the three and may necessitate moving Barnes to the two and playing James Michael McAdoo on Popson. Tyler Zeller against Daugherty looks like a wash but I would give John Henson an edge on Joe Wolf at the other interior spot.
The 1985 team really doesn't have anyone who can truly match Barnes or Reggie Bullock unless Curtis Hunter can provide minutes off the bench. When Roy Williams goes to the more offensive minded lineup with Bullock at the two and Barnes at the three, chances are 1985 is going to have plenty of issues slowing the 2012 Heels down. However, the real match-up to watch is at point guard where Kenny Smith faces off against Kendall Marshall. Chances are Dexter Strickland would be tasked with guarding Smith since he could match his speed. That being said, on their respective offensive ends Smith and Marshall would likely put on a show.
The biggest thing going against 1985 here is recency. 2012 is very fresh in the minds of readers while 1985 is but a fleeting memory. We know the players' names but only two jump out at us(Smith and Daugherty) whereas the roster for 2012 is deep with players we think are pretty darn good.