Day & Time: Monday, March 1, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Line: North Carolina -2
TV/Streaming: ESPN, WatchESPN
North Carolina Blog: Tar Heel Blog
Rivalry: 14-5, North Carolina
Current Streak: 1, North Carolina
First Meeting: Perhaps somewhat fittingly, these two legendary programs met for the first time during the 1957 NCAA tournament in what would now be the Elite Eight. Syracuse came up short, losing 67-58 to UNC. The Tar Heels would eventually win the NCAA tournament that year, defeating Kansas by a point.
Last Meeting: As expected, North Carolina’s big men dominated the Orange zone and destroyed Syracuse on the rebounds. 24 second chance points on a 17 rebound advantage gave the Tar Heels all the fuel they needed to defeat the Orange 81-75.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (45th year, 1,078-407) | North Carolina - Roy Williams (18th year, 482–160)
Coach Bio: Williams started his collegiate coaching career as an assistant to Dean Smith in 1978 at his alma mater in North Carolina. He served on Smith’s coaching staff for 10 years before moving on to take the head coaching job at Kansas. Williams led Kansas to an NCAA tournament appearance every year leading the program except for his first season. The Jayhawks never won the tournament under Williams but made the Final Four three times and the championship game once - the 2003 loss to Syracuse.
Following that 2003 season, Williams left Kansas to take over as the head coach of North Carolina. The Tar Heels have won three national championships under Williams and have made the NCAA tournament every year under his lead except the 2009-10 season, where UNC was runner-ups in the NIT. Williams joins Eddie Sutton as the only coaches to win the AP coach of the year award at two different schools.
Last Year: North Carolina severely dipped in form during the 2019-20 season, suffering its first losing campaign under Williams with a 14-19 record. The Tar Heels also suffered their second losing record in conference play with a 6-14 record and finishing tied for last in the ACC. UNC’s season ended with the aforementioned loss to Syracuse in the ACC tournament.
Last Game: Walter Kessler had a breakout game with 20 points and 8 rebounds as North Carolina turned around a 41-29 halftime deficit to a 78-70 win over No. 11 Florida State. The Tar Heels shot 50% from the floor in the second half to upset the Seminoles.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Armando Bacot destroyed Syracuse down low the last time these two teams played. He had 15 points and 12 rebounds in the Tar Heel win. Bacot leads the Tar Heels with 11.2 points per game and is UNC’s second leading rebounder with 7.4 boards per game.
If Syracuse Wins: We take a 5 goal lead for both lacrosse teams this season.
If Syracuse Loses: If the bubble wasn’t burst before, it is now.
Fun Fact: With the win over Florida State, Roy Williams picked up his 900th career win as a head coach.