CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The road to Houston is now in place.
North Carolina received a No. 1 seed from the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee in the East Region's Raleigh pod.
The Tar Heels will open play Thursday at PNC Arena (7:20 p.m./TBS) against the Florida Gulf Coast/Farleigh Dickenson winner. The following round would be the winner of USC vs. Providence.
“Well, I was certainly thankful that they told us where we were (seeded) early in a two-hour show," UNC head coach Roy Williams said. "It was exciting. Our guys responded immediately with some very positive feelings and applause and some statements that we really like (being a number one seed). It was a relief to know it that early. It was really a nice feeling because we feel like we accomplished some great things this season, particularly down the stretch, winning at Duke to get the regular-season championship, and to go to Washington, D.C., to win the ACC Tournament. It made me feel like we had a great chance to get a number one seed, so I was very happy with it.”
East Region: UNC (1), Xavier (2), West Virginia (3), Kentucky (4), Indiana (5), Notre Dame (6), Wisconsin (7), Providence (8), USC (9), Pittsburgh (10), Michigan/Tulsa (11), Chattanooga (12), Stony Brook (13), SF Austin (14), Weber State (15), Florida Gulf Coast/Farleigh Dickenson (16)
UNC is making its 47th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament, second behind Kentucky’s 55 appearances. The Tar Heels have played in a NCAA record 18 Final Fours.
“There’s no special feeling about being a number one seed because when you get there you’ve got to play," Williams said. "I used to worry more, and say ‘oh gosh, that’s such a tough bracket,’ but I don’t do that anymore because you’ve got to play on game day. When you do a get a number one it means you have already accomplished something to get to this stage but now everybody starts all over again. Build your momentum once we get in the Tournament and play better, play better and play better, and hopefully do it six times.”
Roy Williams is 25-0 all-time in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 64. The 13th-year UNC head coach is third in NCAA Tournament victories with 64, trailing Dean Smith by one.
UNC is 31-1 in NCAA Tournament games played in the state of North Carolina, including a 7-1 record in Raleigh.
UNC has been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament a record 15 times, including six times under Roy Williams. The Tar Heels have advanced to the Final Four eight times and won four national championships (’82, ’93, ’05, ‘09) as a No. 1 seed.
“Everyone’s emotions have run through such a wide variety (this year)," Williams said. "We were picked number one in the preseason, had everyone talking bad about us during the season how we were underachieving and now everybody’s saying great things. I think we are a veteran club and don’t listen to that. As coaches, we want to put the ACC Tournament behind us with a couple of exceptions. We have great confidence about we played defensively and now let’s build on that. And the players, like Joel Berry, how well he played should give him more confidence to take into the (NCAA) Tournament. We’ll try to keep some things and put the rest of it behind us.”