After Marquette knocked off Syracuse and North Carolina survived a crazy game against Washington, they'll have a very intriguing matchup in the Sweet 16 on Friday night in the East Regional in Newark. The game will be telecast on CBS at 4:15 PM PT/7:15 PM ET, with Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Tracy Wolfson your announcing and sideline team (click here for the full Sweet 16 TV schedule).
Ken Pomeroy says ... 39th best offense and 8th best defense playing at one of the fastest paces in college basketball. Excellent rebounding team and good at keeping opponents off the line. Good at holding onto the ball. Strong field goal defense. Excellent at getting blocked shots and not getting their shots blocked.
The weaknesses for North Carolina are shooting the basketball. Due partly to the volume of shots they take, they're a poor three point and free throw shooting team. In addition, the Heels get a lot of their passes picked off while struggling to force turnovers of their own.
Ken Pomeroy says ... 22nd best offense and 55th best defense playing at a modest pace. Solid shooting team (particularly on twos, decent on threes), good offensive rebounding team. Excellent at getting to the line while forcing the opposition off of it. Not too bad at forcing turnovers.
The weaknesses for Marquette are poor field goal defense, particularly on three pointers. Sadly, it doesn't seem to help UNC since they're not that great a three point offense.
Prediction: Marquette couldn't have asked for a more ideal matchup in the Sweet 16. If they can slow UNC down to their pace, get some turnovers and get just enough offensive rebounds, they might be able to pull this one off. The Eagles tend to play very narrow games against top competition, and this game should be no different.
Unfortunately, these narrow games usually end up in the "L" column for Marquette. I'll take North Carolina, but just barely.