NCAA Tournament 2012: Why North Carolina Will Dominate the Midwest

Zayne GranthamContributor IIIMarch 16, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11:  (L-R) Harrison Barnes #40, Tyler Zeller #44, James Michael McAdoo #43, Reggie Bullock #35 and Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels sit on the bench during pregame against the Florida State Seminoles during the Final Game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 11, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

North Carolina is going to tear through the Midwest region on its way to a Final Four appearance.

What team is going to stop the Tar Heels?

Other No. 1 seeds like Kentucky, Michigan State and Syracuse will have to fight their way through tough teams like Duke, Baylor, Florida, Vanderbilt, Florida State and Marquette.

In order to get to the Elite Eight, North Carolina would have to beat teams like Temple, Michigan and Creighton. These are all talented teams, but also teams on a different level than the Tar Heels.

North Carolina is coming off of a loss to Florida State in the ACC Conference championship game, and you can bet that they are hungry.

North Carolina will begin their tournament run by playing Vermont on Friday. Vermont upset a top-ranked Syracuse team in the 2005 NCAA tournament, but the chances of that happening this year are pretty small.

UNC should be able to get ahead of Vermont quickly in the first half, and since Vermont lacks an adequate three-point game, they will not be able to catch up.

Creighton took care of Alabama in the second round, which means that the Tar Heels would move on to play the Bluejays in the third round.

At this point, just about everyone knows that North Carolina is weak out on the perimeter, and if you have doubts, then take a look at their performance against Florida State in the ACC championship game. The only way that Creighton sneaks by UNC here is if they catch fire early and never let the Tar Heels catch up.

However, I believe that since the Bluejays are so heavy in the backcourt, the size difference of the two teams will be too much for Creighton. At some point, the Tar Heels' size will likely overwhelm the Bluejays, allowing UNC to move on.

In the Sweet 16, the Tar Heels could face Temple, USF, Michigan or Ohio since none of these second-round games have been played yet. Temple and Michigan are obviously favored in their individual matchups, and North Carolina should be able to overwhelm either of these teams.

Temple is a team that can play well offensively, but lacks the type of defense often seen from Fran Dunphy's Owls. The Wolverines are a similar team to Creighton, except they cannot shoot the three-point shot as well.

At the end of the day, North Carolina should be able to wrap up victories against these early-round opponents. That would leave the Tar Heels in the Elite Eight facing a team like Kansas or Georgetown.

Kansas has a legitimate shot at taking down North Carolina, and should be able to match up in size, unlike most other NCAA tournament teams. The Jayhawks could very well end up being the best team the Tar Heels face this year, but it will be a tired Jayhawks teams.

The Jayhawks will have to take down some good teams in order to meet up with UNC. Kansas may have to face St. Mary's and Georgetown before getting to the Elite Eight, whereas the Tar Heels' toughest competition will be Michigan or Temple.

This would be a relatively close game, but at the end of the game, North Carolina just overpowers Kansas for the victory and trip to the Final Four.

Even if the Tar Heels face a tough Georgetown team, the Hoyas would likely not be able to pull the upset.

Georgetown has a recent trend of exiting the NCAA tournament early, and it seems very possible that could be the case in 2012. Chances of the Hoyas upsetting the Tar Heels are almost slim to none.