No. 1 North Carolina (30-3) vs. No. 16 Navy (19-10)

March 12, 1998|By Alan Goldstein

What: First round, NCAA East Regional

Where: Hartford (Conn.) Civic Center

When: Today, 12: 20 p.m.

TV: Chs. 13, 9

How they got here: North Carolina got an automatic bid as the champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference, beating Duke, 83-68, in the tournament title game. Navy got an automatic bid by winning the Patriot League tournament, topping Lafayette, 93-85, in the final.

Conference records: North Carolina was 13-3 in the ACC, but finished second to Duke in the regular season; Navy was 10-2 and tied Lafayette for the regular-season title.

Rankings: North Carolina is ranked No. 1. Navy is unranked.

Coaches: Bill Guthridge (30-3) is in his first year as head coach at North Carolina after serving as Dean Smith's assistant for 30 years. Don DeVoe is 99-71 in six years at Navy and 427-299 overall. DeVoe also made five straight trips to the NCAAs with Tennessee (1979-1984) and with Virginia Tech in 1976.

NCAA tournament records: North Carolina is making its 32d tournament appearance. It has reached the Final Four 13 times and won championships in 1957, 1982 and 1993. Navy is making its 11th NCAA appearance and third in five years. The Midshipmen reached the round of eight with David Robinson in 1986 before losing to Duke.

Key matchups: Navy's aggressive 6-3 forward Hassan Booker will be giving away six inches to Tar Heels' All-American Antawn Jamison and must stay out of foul trouble that plagued him in conference tourney. Junior shooting guard Skip Victor has athletic ability to pressure Carolina's chief outside threat, Shammond Williams.

What North Carolina has to do to win: Guard against over-confidence, keep from testing its thin bench and just play up to par.

What Navy has to do to win: Slow the tempo, restrict turnovers to a minimum, keep the bigger Tar Heels off the offensive boards, and play the game of their lives.

Bottom line: North Carolina looks every bit the part of a 28-point favorite. Navy can win a moral victory by making the score respectable.

Pub Date: 3/12/98

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