No. 1 seed Tar Heels look to keep the No. 16 jinx going

Photo: Todd Melet

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) A No. 1 seed has still not lost to a No. 16 seed and North Carolina fans are hoping nothing changes Thursday when the Tar Heels play either Florida Gulf Coast or Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Raleigh.

While he said it was a nice feeling, UNC coach Roy Williams said there is no special feeling about being a No. 1 seed. “When you get there you’ve got to play,” he said. “I used to worry more, and say ‘oh gosh, that’s such a tough bracket,’ but I don’t do that anymore because you’ve got to play on game day.”

Others are talking about how North Carolina is in a tough bracket though. Not only might the Tar Heels have to eventually play fellow ACC teams Notre Dame or Pittsburgh again, teams such as Xavier, West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana are in the same region.

“Now everybody starts all over again,” Williams said. “Build your momentum once we get in the Tournament and play better, play better and play better, and hopefully do it six times.”

The Tar Heel players all gathered together to watch the CBS Selection Show and responded with applause when they were named a No. 1 seed. “There was a good mix of excitement and not feeling good about what we have already done, but what may be down the road,” Williams said.

UNC was picked No. 1 in the preseason poll. But then, as Williams puts, everyone was talking bad about the Tar Heels during the season. “Now everybody’s saying great things,” Williams said. “I think we are a veteran club and don’t listen to that.”

Tickets were still available Sunday night on the PNC Arena website for the games in Raleigh.

The Tar Heels first opponent, whether Fairleigh Dickinson (Teaneck, New Jersey) or Florida Gulf Coast (Fort Myers, Florida), is not particularly experienced.

The best players for Fairleigh Dickinson (18-14) are sophomore guards Darian Anderson (15.4 points per game) and Earl Potts Jr. (14.7 ppg). The best players for Florida Gulf Coast are junior forward Marc-Eddy Norelia (17.2 ppg and 9,2 rebounds per game) and sophomore guard Christian Terrell (12.6 ppg).

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles are headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since “Dunk City” went to the Sweet 16 three years ago. FGCU reached the 20-win mark for the fourth consecutive season. Meanwhile, the Knights are making their first NCAA appearance since 2005, when they lost to top-seeded Illinois in a game effort.

Florida Gulf Coast is favored by most to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson when the two teams play in Dayton, Ohio Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. on truTV. The Eagles

Thursday’s North Carolina matchup with the winner is set for 7:20 p.m. Should Carolina maintain the tradition of No. 1 teams beating No. 16 teams, the Heels will play Saturday against the winner of Southern Cal and Providence.

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