Matchup

Posted: March 23, 2007

North Carolina

vs. Southern California

NCAA East Regional Semifinal

When: Tonight, 9:57 (approximate)

Where: Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, N.J.

TV/Radio: CBS3/WPEN (950-AM).

Records: North Carolina 30-6, USC 25-11

History: UNC leads the series, 7-1. The Trojans' only win was last season, 74-59, at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

How they got here: No. 1 North Carolina defeated No. 16 Eastern Kentucky, 86-65, and No. 9 Michigan State, 81-67. No. 5 USC beat No. 12 Arkansas, 77-60, and No. 4 Texas, 87-68.

Coaches: Roy Williams is 105-29 in 4 years at North Carolina and 523-130 in 19 years overall. Tim Floyd is 42-24 in 2 years at USC, 285-154 in 14 years overall.

Three things North Carolina must do:

1. Start running, never slow down and keep the offensive pressure on. They average 86.1 points and shoot 50.7 percent, making them almost impossible to defend.

2. Jam the ball inside to Tyler Hansbrough (averaging 27 points in this NCAA) while making sure freshman blur Ty Lawson has the ball almost all the time. In his five postseason games, Lawson has 35 assists and 7 turnovers.

3. Get to the foul line, where it has attempted 270 more free throws than its opponents.

Three things USC must do:

1. Find a way to slow down UNC while keeping the game in the halfcourt, where its terrific halfcourt defense has held teams to just 39 percent shooting.

2. Keep the game in the 70s. If it gets into the 80s, the Trojans may not have enough firepower to keep up

3. Attack UNC's questionable defense at the right moments and make sure Nick Young and Lodrick Stewart, who combine to shoot a sensational 45 percent from the arc, get the majority of the shots.

What to expect: You look at UNC's talent and you wonder how it lost six games. Well, it wasn't because of offense. These Tar Heels can really score. The big question is: Do they want to defend every possession or do they just want to get the possession over so they can go score again. USC's chance is to control the pace, limit the possessions, get into the 40 percent range from the arc and make it a 4-minute game at the end. This really could happen. Still, I think Carolina is just too big and too talented. Their defense may catch up with them soon, but probably not tonight.

- Dick Jerardi

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