How to Pick North Carolina in Your Bracket
Thanks to HCO Innovations
Before we begin, you should know this isn’t a guide for people who want to know the best way to win their bracket pool. Picking North Carolina to win the championship this year is not a good way to win your bracket pool. In fact it’s a pretty good way to lose your bracket pool. So if you really want to beat Tina in your office, who won last year because Huskies are her favorite type of dog, this guide isn’t for you. You should probably just pick based on your favorite colors instead.
But if you’re a North Carolina fan — and honestly what are you doing on this site if you aren’t? — then you may want to know the best way to fill out a bracket that has the Tar Heels cutting down the nets. Despite the long odds against this happening, you want to do it anyways — because you’re not a fatalistic NC State fan; you cheer for North Carolina. Like another person famous for picking the Tar Heels to win titles, you believe in the audacity of hope.
So again, these aren’t my predictions of what is going to happen in the tournament. What actually is going to happen is that the Kentucky Monstars are going to demolish everyone in their path en route to an undefeated season (unless the only thing that could possibly be worse happens and Duke beats Kentucky in the title game). This is rather, the most realistic way of something totally unrealistic happening — so when you do decide to fill out a bracket that has the Tar Heels winning, you’ll have the best possible completely absurd bracket.
Round of 64: North Carolina beats Harvard (alt pronunciation: “HAAAAHHHVAAAHHHD”)
This one is easy. North Carolina is going to beat Harvard in the round of 64. Don’t let the fact that the Crimson have a recent track record of winning first round games as a double digit seed fool you. Facts are for people who went to Harvard anyways. North Carolina is going to win because they have way more size and athleticism than Harvard. Did you know Kennedy Meeks lost more weight this past offseason than the combined weight of Harvard’s starting frontcourt? I didn’t fact check that because I didn’t go to frickin’ Harvard. But it’s probably true. North Carolina wins this one comfortably. How ya like them apples Harvard?
Round of 32: North Carolina beats Arkansas
I understand why you want to pick Wofford to upset Arkansas. Really I do. But don’t. Arkansas is a big, athletic team that loves to press. You know who doesn’t do well with big athletic pressing teams? Terriers. They may seem intimidating when they are yapping away from a distance but when a German Shepard actually gets up close and personal, they back down real quick. So don’t do it. Don’t pick the Terriers to play North Carolina.
Arkansas is more intimidating for UNC than Harvard, especially given Carolina’s tendency to be careless with the basketball. Still, uptempo teams generally don’t fare well against UNC unless they can REALLY shoot it from three and fortunately that’s not the case with the Razorbacks. Think of Arkansas as a poor man’s version of Louisville (which is actually a complement because, outside of the Kentucky Monstars, the SEC is a homeless man’s ACC), who Carolina performed well against this season. It may not be a comfortable win, but you should still feel pretty good about picking North Carolina to make the Sweet Sixteen.
Sweet Sixteen: North Carolina beats Oregon WILD CARD! While North Carolina definitely could beat #1 seed Wisconsin, the Badgers slow-paced, perfect-execution style presents a lot of problems for the Tar Heels. So pick the Ducks to upset the fighting Buzzcuts and face the Tar Heels in the Sweet Sixteen. Oregon actually played Wisconsin in the second round last year and only ended up losing by eight points. Oregon also won seven games in a row before getting blown out by Arizona in the PAC-12 championship game. I know that because I just looked up Oregon’s schedule hoping to find more reasons for you to pick the Ducks to upset Wisconsin. This was probably a mistake, but just pick the Ducks here and stop asking so many goddamn questions. Anyways, remember how I said Oregon got blown out by Arizona in the PAC-12 Championship? I wasn’t kidding. They got BLOWN. THE. HELL. OUT. Zona won 80-52. North Carolina may not be quite as good as Arizona, but since the transitive property of sports is infallible, I can’t see North Carolina losing to the Ducks. Leave the Quacking to Gordon Bombay, Charlie Conway and Adam Banks — UNC moves onward to the Elite Eight. Elite Eight: North Carolina beats Baylor There are a lot of options here. Arizona is the favorite and probably the best team in the West Region’s lower half. VCU is dangerous as always in March, and Shaka Smart has the Rams playing their best ball right now. Ohio State boasts the best pro prospect in the region in DeAngelo Russell. But you’re not going to pick any of them. You’re going to pick Baylor. I know two things about Baylor: I know they are a #3 seed and I know that I can’t name a single player on Baylor. Maybe that one white guy who can shoot threes. I think his name is Heslip, though it could be Helsip, or he could have graduated last year. Anyways, I am left to conclude that Baylor is probably a good enough team to make an Elite Eight and is also definitely a team UNC could beat in the Elite Eight. Sorry Helisp.
Final Four: North Carolina beats Maryland Congratulations! We’ve now entered the world of pure fantasy — because, as I said at the start, the Kentucky Monstars are winning this tournament. Finding a good matchup who could even theoretically advance out of the Midwest is extremely difficulty. Kentucky is obviously out, unless Carolina has a stash of Michael’s Secret Stuff for just this occasion. Kansas is just a big NOOOOOPE as long as Roy Williams is UNC’s coach. Notre Dame is certainly beatable, but remains a terrible matchup for the Heels. Enter Maryland. The Terps have two talented guards in Melo Trimble and Dez Wells and a couple guys who can make threes. Perhaps Maryland catches Kentucky on a bad night, makes every three they shoot, and Karl Hess comes out of retirement to eject Kentucky’s starting frontcourt. UK still probably wins that game, but for the sake of this piece, let’s say that happens and Maryland wins. Fortunately, North Carolina is absolutely beating Maryland. The Tar Heels haven’t lost to the Terps since Roy’s former assistant, Mark Turgeon, took over as head coach. UNC is Maryland’s nightmare. Trying to hide in the Big Ten won’t help you. We see you Maryland. You can’t hide from North Carolina. COME PLAY WITH US. Heels win. Terps lose. ACC FOREVER. National Championship: North Carolina beats Iowa State First things first. No Duke. Seriously, why are you even thinking about it? “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a UNC-Duke Final?” you ask. No. No it wouldn’t. Not one single bit. UNC-Duke in the National Championship is like if the United States and the Soviet Union had actually started launching nukes at each other in the Cold War — one side may technically win but the world still ends. If this ever happens, I hope everyone who survives enjoys college basketball’s nuclear winter. So who should you pick? Gonzaga seems to jump off the bracket as team that is theoretically good enough to make it to the title game, but also a team North Carolina would be happy to play… except that it’s Gonzaga and they are totally losing to Davidson in the second round. You could also go the route of picking a dangerous mid-major as UNC’s championship opponent — a strategy that worked well for Duke in 2010. To that end Northern Iowa seems like a decent selection. No one would fault you for that pick.. but it’s not the right pick. You see, there’s such a thing as poetic justice. That’s why you’re picking a North Carolina-Iowa State title game. Last year the Cyclones stunned the Tar Heels with a furious run to end the game, which in retrospect foreshadowed the late-game execution issues that have plagued the Tar Heels all year. As you may also remember, Brice Johnson sprained his ankle in the first five minutes of that game and wasn’t able to return to the court. This time Brice puts up 28 and 12 against a perimeter oriented Iowa State and Marcus Paige hits a dagger three. North Carolina a cuts down the nets and Franklin Street goes crazy… …at least until you wake up, realize you were dreaming, and remember that Kentucky beat UVA by 20 in the lowest scoring title game ever. Hey, at least it wasn’t Duke.