Texas Southern opens NCAA tourney vs. North Carolina
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Texas Southern will open the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament as a 16-seed, as the SWAC regular season and tournament champion will head to Greenville, S.C. as part of the South Region to face 1-seed North Carolina.
The matchup was announced earlier today as part of the NCAA's selection show.
The Tigers enter the fray with a 23-11 record (16-2 SWAC), and it is their fourth-straight postseason berth as the team was an NIT participant last year. Fresh off grinding out wins over Alabama State, Grambling State and Alcorn State to win their third tournament championship in four years, the Tigers are seeking their first NCAA tournament win in seven tries.
The Tar Heels present a formidable challenge as UNC won the ACC regular season championship before being upended in the semifinals by eventual tournament champion Duke.
UNC posted a 27-7 (14-4 ACC) record this season, as Roy Williams' unit was led by junior swingman and ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson and second-team all-ACC guard Joel Berry. Jackson averaged better than 18 points per game for the Tar Heels, and Berry posted a shade under 15 points per game to go with 3.7 assists. In all, UNC has four players averaging double-figures in scoring.
The Tigers counter with SWAC Player of the Year Zach Lofton, who led the conference in scoring during the regular season at better than 17 points per game. SWAC Freshman of the Year Demontrae Jefferson (14.9 PPG, 3.3 APG) has emerged late as a bonafide go-to option on offense alongside Lofton, and SWAC Defensive Player of the Year and SWAC Tournament MVP Marvin Jones anchors the interior for coach Mike Davis' squad.
The contest will take place on March 17, with a start time to be announced. The contest can be seen on CBS as well as on CBS.com's live stream. The SWAC will provide more information regarding the game's tip-off time as it is made available.