NCAA Tournament - The 11 Over 6 Pick
Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: East Region – No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 11 Providence

- 60-Second Video Analysis On Each Team

Line: North Carolina -4
Why To Pick Providence: There but for a rough day against Creighton and a tough loss to Villanova, Providence is coming into the tournament red hot. Great on the boards and outstanding on the line, the Friars do a lot of the little things right and could be perfect late in a tight game. They're No. 2 in the nation in free throws, while the Tar Heels couldn't make one if they were standing in the hoop.
Why To Pick North Carolina: Providence doesn't erally play defense on a consistent basis. North Carolina moves the ball around well enough to get the open shot time and again, and they can rebound well enough to get a few cheap second chance points. The Friars won't bother the backcourt.
The Pick: Providence 75-72. It'll be a tight game with North Carolina keeping control most of the way, and then the free throw shooting will start, and then the bricks will come.

North Carolina Tar Heels
Head coach Roy Williams Record: 23-9 Conference: ACC

What You Need To Know: The Tar Heels have been coming on of late, heading into the NCAA Tournament on a bit of a roll. The offense is blessed with an electric scorer in Marcus Paige, a rising star who could be a key factor over the next few weeks. He can fill it up at any time, but he's a true finisher in the second half and is demanding of the ball when the game is on the line. Fearless, his ability to keep opponents on their heels gives UNC an advantage. Forward James Michael McAdoo is a multi-talented big man who can dominate in the paint, but he could stand to be more consistent. The Tar Heels are at their best when he is aggressive. Leslie McDonald provides some balance, and guard J.P. Tokoto is UNC's second-best passer behind Paige. Brice Johnson is key, as well, but he can run into foul trouble at times and is inconsistent. Free-throw shooting has been an issue for this team, which could be critical in a tight game.
Strengths: Assists, Rebounding, Scoring
Weaknesses: Three Point Shooting, Free Throw Shooting, Scoring Defense
How Far Will They Go?: Tremendously hot over the last few weeks of the season, this could be a dangerous team that gets on a roll if everything is working, but if it gets past Providence, it'll get tagged by Iowa State.

Providence Friars
Head coach: Ed Cooley Record: 23-11 Conference: Big East

What You Need To Know: The Friars had to rally to earn an invite to the Big Dance, and their inconsistency has been a huge problem all season. Providence can struggle to knock down shots at times, but the offense likes to get out in transition and is at its best when creating turnovers that lead to easy baskets. Bryce Cotton is the catalyst, and his ability to light up the scoreboard and seemingly endless supply of energy sets the tone for Providence. Cotton also is a fantastic passer, and he is great at finding LaDontae Henton and Kadeem Batts in the drive-and-kick game. That duo also hits the boards hard and can trigger the fast break with pinpoint outlet passes.
Strengths: Free Throws, Blocked Shots, Rebounding
Weaknesses: Shooting, Steals, Turnovers
How Far Will They Go?: Wickedly inconsistent, the Friars aren't built to go deep, but they might be just flaky-good enough to slip past North Carolina and be a huge first day story.