NCAA East Region – Elite 8 Matchup
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina No it’s not the ACC tournament final. It’s the Elite Eight matchup on Sunday of the East Regional in the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Tar Heels (31-6) were the overall No. 1 seed in March Madness, so their appearance is no surprise. I selected the Tar Heels on my bracket to win the national championship. However for No. 6 Notre Dame (24-11), a little luck of the Irish and some clutch play have Coach Mike Brey’s team making a return trip to the Elite Eight. ND appeared to have fallen short in its Sweet 16 matchup with No. 7 Wisconsin (22-13), but the Irish miraculously scored eight points in the last 26 seconds for the 61-56 victory. Demetrius Jackson made a steal, then converted the go-ahead basket with 14.7 seconds remaining after Notre Dame played from behind most of the game. Notre Dame caught a break in avoiding No. 3 West Virginia in the second round, but ND still needed a last-second bucket to eliminate No. 14 Stephen F. Austin. Can the Irish somehow manage to control tempo and make enough threes to beat UNC? The Irish did beat the Tar Heels 80-76 at home during the regular season, but Carolina responded with a big 78-47 victory in the ACC tourney. UNC played like a champion in its impressive 101-86 Sweet Sixteen victory against No. 5 Indiana. An encouraging sign for North Carolina was the 21 points from Marcus Paige. Prediction: Brey believes he has a team of destiny as the Irish attempt to reach their first Final Four. But Carolina has too much talent to be denied. North Carolina 85, Notre Dame 75.