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Originally published: 2014-03-16 20:49:43
Last modified: 2014-03-16 20:50:29

North Carolina takes on Providence in first round

by Staff Reports

CHAPEL HILL -- North Carolina has earned its 45th NCAA Tournament bid by grabbing the No. 6 seed in the East Regional.  The Tar Heels will play No. 11 seed Providence on Friday in San Antonio.  

The winner of that game will play the winner of the game between No. 3 seed Iowa State and No. 14 seed NC Central on Sunday.

"Our team is really excited to be playing in San Antonio in the NCAA Tournament," head coach Roy Williams said on Sunday night. "We know we did not play well against Pitt and we must play better Friday against Providence. Their coach, Ed Cooley, was an assistant with Al Skinner at Boston College and will certainly have the Friars fired up and ready to play us."

The Tar Heels return to the NCAA field this season for the 10th time in 11 years under Williams, who has made 24 NCAA Tournament appearances in 26 seasons as a head coach. Williams has led Carolina to a 28-7 (.800) overall record in the NCAA Tournament.

The Tar Heels are 20-5 in NCAA Tournament play in their last six appearances (2007-08-09-11-12-13), advancing to the Elite Eight in 2007, 2011 and 2012, the Final Four in 2008 and winning the title in 2009.

The Tar Heels are tied for the third-most NCAA titles by a program in history. UCLA has 11 NCAA championships, Kentucky has eight and UNC and Indiana have five.  

Williams has led his teams to seven appearances in the Final Four as a head coach, including three at Carolina (2005, 2008, 2009). Williams is one of 13 head coaches to win multiple NCAA championships. He guided the Tar Heels to NCAA titles in 2005 and 2009.

Carolina is making its third NCAA Tournament appearance as a No. 6 seed and has a 2-2 record as a No. 6, going 1-1 in both 1996 (in Richmond) and 2004 (in Denver).

"The NCAA Tournament is always an exciting time and I am so pleased for our kids," Williams said. "They have overcome a lot and put themselves in a position to play in the Tournament. We have had some outstanding wins this year, both in and out of league play, over teams that received some very high seeds in the field, so we know we are capable. But we must play better than we have over the last two weeks if we want to reach our big-time dreams."

Williams also likes the idea of playing on Friday instead of Thursday.

"I am glad we play on Friday as that gives us an extra day to practice and prepare for our game against Providence," he said.