NCAA Tournament 2011: Why North Carolina Shouldn't Sleep on Long Island
NCAA Tournament 2011 Kicks Off Tuesday; Here's Why North Carolina Would Be Wise Not To Overlook Long Island
Historically, 15-seeds have not fared well in the NCAA tournament. With the exceptions of Hampton against Iowa State, and Coppin State over South Carolina, teams seeded against the second-best team in a bracket are 0-for-forever.
That probably won't change much this year, but if you're second-seeded North Carolina, that doesn't mean you should sleep on 15-seed Long Island. Far from it in fact.
You see, the Blackbirds of LIU are not your average 15-seed, for a number of reasons, ranging from their record (27-5, best among seeds that low) to their style of play. And it's just that style that should give North Carolina fits.
While the Blackbirds lack a go-to star (guard Julian Boyd leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game), that doesn't mean they can't score; far from it in fact.
The Blackbirds love to run, and love to shoot, and do both exceptionally well. Their offense ranks fourth in the nation, averaging 82.6 points per game, and they shoot better than 46 percent from the floor, and 36 percent from three-point range.
But the Birds rebound well too, pulling down 45 boards per game. In short, this team smells like trouble, particularly if the Heels elect to sleep on them, which is a real possibility considering North Carolina's youth.
Am I saying the Blackbirds can pull the upset? Probably not; UNC is a supremely talented team, and the odds that Roy Williams lets the Heels cruise is low.
But, that doesn't mean victory is assured, and given the season the Blackbirds have had, earning their first ever NCAA tournament berth and all, you can bet they'll give UNC all they can handle.
Final Score: North Carolina 88, LIU 85.
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