North Carolina is still looking to relieve the sting of last year’s national championship heart-breaker. Butler is attempting to return to the days when Brad Stevens had the Bulldogs as an annual title threat.
Either way, both have Final Four aspirations, but one will see their season come to an end on Friday night at the FedEx Forum in Memphis.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch the Sweet 16 matchup:
UNC vs. Butler Viewing Info
Date: Friday, March 24, 2017
Start Time: 7:09 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: March Madness Live or CBS All Access
Spread: UNC (-7), per OddsShark.com
Moneyline: UNC (-340); Butler (+280)
Head-to-Head History: Butler is 2-0; November 20, 2012, November 26, 2014
Players to Watch
Though you could pick any number of players for this section for North Carolina, it’s hard not to go with Justin Jackson. The ACC Player of the Year struggled a bit with his shot but ultimately played a massive role in the Tar Heels’ victory over Arkansas in the Round of 32, tallying 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists, five steals and a handful of key plays down the stretch to help erase a late deficit.
While Jackson’s impact on the offensive end is an obvious one, he may also be tasked with defending Kelan Martin, Butler’s leading scorer. A 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward who can score inside and stretch the floor, Martin is typically a problem for most teams, but Jackson’s blend of length and athleticism should help him slow down the Butler star.
For Butler, Martin, who comes off the bench and also leads the team in rebounding, is obviously a player to watch, but in terms of importance in this particular matchup, pay close attention to Tyler Wideman. As Butler’s lone true big man who plays significant minutes, the 6-foot-8 junior is going to have an absolute battle on his hands inside against the likes of Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks and the best offensive-rebounding team in the country.
Keeping Carolina off the glass will certainly be a team effort for the Bulldogs, but if Wideman can at least hold his own against the Tar Heels’ elite frontcourt, it will go a long way in helping Butler pull off the upset.