After being handed a No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament, North Carolina won't be facing the usual cupcake in the first round. This year, the players will be tossed into the fire pit early, facing a No. 9-seed Villanova team that has thrived on pulling the upset.
That's how a 20-13 team gets its ticket punched to the Big Dance.
The Wildcats pulled off victories against No. 2 (AP Top 25) Louisville, No. 8 Georgetown, No. 15 Marquette and No. 16 Syracuse, earning the moniker of Giant Killer. Fortunately for UNC, all of those games took place in Philly.
Nine of 'Nova's 13 losses came outside of its home city.
Home or not, the big win is something the Tar Heels are lacking on their resume. They haven't beaten a single team in the current Top 25. They beat UNLV when it was ranked No. 20 in the nation, but the Rebels are no longer a part of that list.
One thing about North Carolina, though, is it beats the teams its supposed to, and most experts are saying it should get through 'Nova.
I've put together five keys to the game to make sure that happens.