North Carolina is one of a handful of favorites to win the national championship this season – something the Tar Heels haven’t done since 2009. In fact, the Tar Heels haven’t even been to the Final Four since 2009.
What does UNC have to do this year to get over the hump and get to Houston?
“The first thing is consistent effort on defense,” former Tar Heel and current CBS Sports college basketball analyst Brendan Haywood said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “We all know that Carolina can score. Some nights the effort on defense isn’t there. Some nights it is and they look phenomenal. That has to be consistent throughout the tournament. And also they have to find a way to hit thee-point shots. They have one of the better front courts in the nation. Brice Johnson, Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks, Justin Jackson – these guys are getting it done up front. But they were the worst three-point shooting team in the ACC – and that’s saying a lot seeing as (how) Boston College plays in the ACC and they didn’t even win a (conference) game. So they have to find a way. Marcus Paige has to find the ghost of Marcus Paige, what he used to be, and hit some shots. Or it has to be Joel Barry, maybe Theo Pinson or Nate Britt. But they have to mix in a couple of threes to go with their low-post game.”
Kansas and North Carolina are the top seeds in the tournament. Those programs won it all in 2008 and 2009, respectively, but have combined for just one Final Four since then.
So, which coach enters the tournament with more pressure: Bill Self or Roy Williams?
“I don’t really think either coach has any pressure,” Haywood said. “They both won at incredible rates. Bill Self has won 12 straight Big 12 titles. He has more Big 12 titles than he has home losses. When you have a championship underneath your belt, you don’t have as much pressure as anyone else – because you can always say, ‘Hey, man, I’m a champion.’ Dean Smith only has two titles, and he’s known as arguably the greatest coach of all time. Hey, Roy Williams has two titles. How much pressure is there really? If Roy Williams were to go to the Sweet 16 and lose to Kentucky, would anybody say this team got beat by some bums? No, they would say this team got beat by another team full of pros. Kentucky probably has four pros on it. So Roy Williams doesn’t have any pressure. I don’t think Bill Self has any pressure. If they go to the Sweet 16 and lose, neither coach has pressure because they perform year in and year out and they both have championships.”