Thursday's UNC Links

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Carolina Basketball

Despite an up-and-down season, North Carolina has a chance to end on a positive note. UNC (20-16) will play Dayton (24-12) for the NIT championship at 7 p.m. today at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It's not exactly what the Tar Heels had in mind in October, when they started practice as defending NCAA Tournament champions and a top-10 team.
UNC goes for NIT title tonight
The Winston-Salem Journal

Three and a half weeks ago when North Carolina was crushed at Duke by 32 points to cap one of the worst regular seasons in Tar Heel history, the players were at a loss about what would happen next. They knew they would get at least one more game in the ACC Tournament, which they promptly lost to Georgia Tech, but after that nothing was guaranteed. But since sneaking into the NIT as a fourth seed, UNC has gotten its second wind and has reeled off four straight victories for the first time since starting the season 4-0 to earn an unlikely spot in the championship game.
Tar Heels leave regular-season struggles in past, prepare to battle Flyers for NIT championship
The Durham Herald-Sun

When North Carolina's Deon Thompson takes the floor tonight against Dayton, he will become the NCAA career leader in games played. The senior is expected to play in his 151st game against the Flyers, which moves him past the 150 games played by Kentucky's Wayne Turner (1996-99) and Florida's Walter Hodge (2006-09).
UNC's Thompson can claim NCAA record for games played
The Durham Herald-Sun

All too often during UNC's slide from top-10 team to NIT bubble squad, Tar Heels players would point to a lack of focus or intensity in trying to describe why they played lackadaisical defense, took bad shots or didn't scramble to grab rebounds or loose balls.
Heels' effort shows
The News and Observer

In most years, if you said on this particular day that North Carolina was playing for the National Invitation Tournament championship, Tar Heel fans would call it a bad April Fool's Day joke. Not this time. A year after winning the NCAA tournament, the Tar Heels and coach Roy Williams will try tonight to become the first school in history to win the NIT a year after winning the "real" national championship.
Tar Heels will make history with win in NIT tonight
The Asheville Citizen-Times

The North Carolina Tar Heels are a victory away from repeating as national champs. Kind of, sort of. With a win over Dayton, the Tar Heels would cut down the nets and celebrate a national title they would rather not be playing for, and one they haven't captured since 1971. After winning the NCAA Tournament last year, the fifth such crown in program history, North Carolina will be going for its second NIT championship Thursday at the Garden.
North Carolina Tar Heels hardly favorites in NIT championship against Dayton Flyers
The New York Daily News

Coach Brian Gregory knows his University of Dayton program can't compare with North Carolina when it comes to amassing celebrated recruits. The Tar Heels have eight McDonald's All-Americans. And UD? "We eat at McDonald's," Gregory said.
Flyers not intimidated by UNC's rep
The Dayton Daily News

North Carolina coach Roy Williams thumbed through a University of Dayton media guide before his NIT press conference Wednesday, March 31, trying to learn as much as he could about the Flyers with little time to prepare. "Their athleticism and the pressure they put on you is impressive," Williams said. "Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, Marcus Johnson — they have some youngsters that are extremely athletic, extremely quick. It's impossible to simulate it. We're not going to simulate that kind of athleticism."
Tar Heels scrambling to learn about Flyers
The Dayton Daily News

Asked about Dayton, Ohio, Roy Williams scrunched his smile into a grimace and just shook his head: "Oh yeah, I've been to Dayton — I got bad memories," North Carolina's Hall of Fame coach said Wednesday.
Nothing but "bad memories" of Dayton, Ohio
The Dayton Daily News

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