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UNC gets top seed, intriguing foes


ATLANTA — It didn’t put the Zeller brothers in the same region (Tyler’s Tar Heels are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, Cody’s Indiana Hoosiers are a No. 4 seed in the South). And there’s no rematch with UNLV, the first team to beat North Carolina this season.

But the NCAA Selection Committee on Sunday couldn’t resist several potentially intriguing opponents for UNC, which will open NCAA play next Friday in Greensboro.

A quick look:

  • If the Tar Heels get past Lamar or Vermont in their first game -- and no No. 1 seed has ever lost to a No. 16, remember -- they would match up with No. 8 Creighton (which plays No. 9 Alabama in its first game). That sets up a showdown between former high school teammates Harrison Barnes and Doug McDermott. Their Ames (Iowa) High School squad went 53-0 and won two state titles in their junior and senior seasons.

  • In-state rival NC State, which UNC beat three times this season (including in the ACC tournament semifinals), is the No. 11 seed in UNC’s region. The Wolfpack would have to win three games in order to meet the Tar Heels in the regional final. But it's a fun rematch of a rematch of a rematch to think about.

  • The Tar Heels could potentially face No. 4 seed Michigan in the Sweet 16. UNC beat the Wolverines for the 1993 national title, a game that included Chris Webber's infamous timeout. The game was in New Orleans -- site of this year's Final Four -- and was Dean Smith's second national title.

  • The No. 2 seed in Midwest Region is Kansas, UNC coach Roy Williams’ former team and the squad that beat the Tar Heels in the national semifinals in 2008. He drew lots of criticism for wearing a Jayhawks sticker while watching Kansas win the national title game that year.

  • And then there’s Kentucky, the top overall seed in the tournament, and the No. 1 in the South Region. The Tar Heels lost to the Wildcats by a point in early December in what is still considered one of the best games of the season. The teams would meet in the national championship game.

MIDWEST (St. Louis) REGION

Greensboro

Friday, March 16

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Lamar/Vermont winner

No. 8 Creighton vs. No. 9 Alabama

Nashville

Friday, March 16

No. 5 Temple vs. No. 12 California/USF winner

No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 13 Ohio

Columbus

Friday, March 16

No. 6 San Diego State vs. No. 11 NC State

No. 3 Georgetown vs. No. 14 Belmont

Omaha

Friday, March 16

No. 7 Saint Mary's vs. No. 10 Purdue

No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 15 Detroit

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.