Busting Brackets

North Carolina Basketball: UNC-Wagner for 1st-time ever in Round of 64

North Carolina Basketball will dance with the Wagner Seahawks at the Spectrum for the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament.

Armando Bacot will get one last shot at destiny in the NCAA Tournament wearing a North Carolina uniform.
Armando Bacot will get one last shot at destiny in the NCAA Tournament wearing a North Carolina uniform. / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

The Tar Heels will meet Wagner in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, as a result of the 71-68 win in favor of the Seahawks in their First Four contest over Howard. A nail-biter that saw the Bison launch three successive bombs from behind the arc, although none were able to sink to the bottom of the net. Never before have these two teams met, but that will change soon as Coach Copeland and Co. make their way down to Charlotte.

North Carolina has had the chance to reset and collect themselves following their disappointing loss in the ACC championship game against NC State. With high hopes of achieving another piece of hardware after acquiring one at the end of their soul-stopping victory over Duke, the Heels wanted to raise the standards and accomplish their first ACC Tournament title since 2016.

Unfortunately, the lack of timely shot-making and failure to defend State's tandem of DJ Horne and DJ Burns led to unwanted results. RJ Davis and Armando Bacot wore backpacks in that game as the only sources of offense during the first and second halves.

In hopes of a different outcome during the final half of regulation, UNC did not have any answers to stop the relentless NC State Wolfpack, who kept on barreling their way on the offensive end. Carolina fought and tried to run away, but was no match for the steaming hot Coach Keatts' team.

Wagner used a hot shooting night from downtown to illustrate their offense all night against the Bison. With just under 10 minutes left before heading into the half, the Seahawks held an 11-point lead. The margin ballooned as much as 14; however, Howard made a slight run and slowed them down before things got out of hand in a hurry, ending the first 20 minutes, 38-27.

At the 16:12 time stamp, we later glimpsed a huge 48-31 lead for Wagner, courtesy of a Keyontae Lewis splash for three. As time passed, the score favored the Seahawks but became a challenge as Howard threatened that advantage with stops and scores up until the very end. Jump ahead to 10 seconds remaining as the score stood at 71-68. Howard's Jordan Hairston and Marcus Dockery had a total of three chances but fell short as the buzzer sounded off, ending their season.

Four guys scored at least 10 points in this First Four matchup. Melvin Council Jr. (21), Julian Brown (15), Keyontae Lewis (10), and Tahron Allen (10) filled in that column.

If Wagner starts lighting it up like they did tonight against North Carolina, then the Heels can be in for some trouble, as seen earlier in the season, unless they can tighten up their defense around the perimeter. The Seahawks nearly shot 50% from three-ball land as they went 8-17.

The boxing match down low with Keyontae Lewis and Armando Bacot will be an individual matchup to pay close attention to. Despite Lewis having a disadvantage in height he compensates with a bulky frame, the kind that Bacot has run into some trouble throughout the regular season.

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Tune in on CBS at 2:45 p.m. tomorrow afternoon as these two schools brawl in hopes of staying alive.