Lucas: Rapid Reactions
Release: 03/17/2017

By Adam Lucas

1. Carolina's NCAA Tournament opening victory continues a fairly remarkable streak, as Roy Williams is now 13-0 at Carolina in NCAA Tournament opening games and 27-0 in his career. In the era of the upset, that's a pretty amazing figure.

2. Welcome back, Justin Jackson. The ACC Player of the Year entered the game on a 7-for-31 slide from the three-point line. That quickly ended, as he missed his first three-pointer--a rushed shot--but then proceeded to make his next five from beyond the arc. Those five three-pointers meant it took Jackson just one half to tie the Carolina mark for most three-pointers in a first round NCAA Tournament mark, equaling a mark held by Jeff McInnis, Ademola Okulaja and P.J. Hairston.

3. That perimeter offense was somewhat opened up by a terrific early stretch from Isaiah Hicks, who dominated the Tigers in the paint on the way to 11 first-half points. Texas Southern simply didn't have the size to provide an adequate matchup for Hicks, who aggressively attacked the rim most of the afternoon.

4. As you would expect, the UNC size advantage led to a huge rebounding edge. The Tar Heels had a 54-27 edge on the glass and secured 20 offensive rebounds to TSU's six.

5. It must be the postseason, because Roy Williams utilized his use-it-or-lose-it timeout with 7.0 seconds left in the first half. It looked like the Tar Heels had designed a play for Justin Jackson to set a screen and then pop out to shoot a three-pointer, but the play got blown up. No problem, however, as Joel Berry just tossed in a guarded three-pointer for a 52-27 halftime lead. 

6. The game continues some strong St. Patrick's Day tradition for Carolina basketball. The Tar Heels are now 4-0 on March 17 under Roy Williams in NCAA Tournament play, including last year's win over Florida Gulf Coast. Overall, the program has multiple memorable wins on that date, including 1990's upset victory over Oklahoma and the 1977 win over Notre Dame in College Park. Carolina is now 12-1 on St. Patrick's Day in NCAA Tournament play (the lone loss was in 1996 to Texas Tech). 

7. The second round will present a familiar NCAA Tournament foe. The last five Carolina-Arkansas meetings have come in the NCAA Tournament, including Tar Heel wins in 2015, 2008 and 1993, plus Razorback victories in 1990 and in the 1995 Final Four (pause for obligatory Dwight Stewart halfcourt shot head-shaking). 

8. Some big statistical numbers: Carolina's 103 points are the third-most in the Roy Williams era in the NCAA Tournament, trailing only two outings from the 2008 event. It was also the biggest margin of victory for the Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament since the 2009 win over Radford. And if you like history, this is a good sign: the last five times Carolina has won an NCAA Tournament game by at least 30 points, they advanced to the Final Four. UNC did it in 1991, 1993, 1998, 2008 and 2009.

9. Biggest postgame storyline from the game will be the health of Joel Berry II, who rolled his ankle in the second half, left the court in obvious pain, but returned to play a couple token minutes. His status against Arkansas' defensive pressure will be important.

UNC North Carolina Men's Basketball

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