3 Biggest Threats to Upset UNC in March Madness

The Tar Heels should be afraid of these three teams
North Carolina fell to NC State in their last game, giving other teams a blueprint to follow for a potential upset
North Carolina fell to NC State in their last game, giving other teams a blueprint to follow for a potential upset / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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The North Carolina Tar Heels earned the No. 1 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament, though they're just 3-4 against the spread in their last seven games and surprisingly fell to NC State in the ACC Tournament Finals.

They'd rattled off eight straight wins prior to the loss, so they're still in great shape to make a deep run. Nonetheless, the loss showcased some issues that popped up for the Tar Heels throughout the season and could lead to an early exit.

When North Carolina struggles, it's typically due to offensive woes. They shot just 37.3% from the field against NC State as several notable players couldn't find a bucket. With that in mind, let's look at three teams I'd be afraid to see in this region.

3 Biggest Threats to Upset UNC in NCAA Tournament

1. No. 9 Michigan State

Michigan State would be the second-round matchup if they defeat Mississippi State, and their ability to muck up a game could give North Carolina issues. The Spartans are just 2-5 in their last seven contests, though their defense is among the country's best.

They're eighth in KemPom's adjusted defensive efficiency metric while playing at a tempo outside of the top 300 nationally. Tom Izzo's game plan would likely limit possessions to increase variance while relying on the stellar defense.

North Carolina is 174th in two-point shooting percentage (50.5%) while the Spartans are 48th in defensive two-point shooting percentage (47.1%). If the Tar Heels struggle to score inside in a slow game, they'll need to hit shots from outside to pull away.

Unfortunately, Michigan State actually has the edge there. The Spartans are 65th in three-point shooting (35.9%) and the Tar Heels are 97th (35.4%). North Carolina shot 8-of-30 from beyond the arc against NC State, providing a blueprint for a potential Izzo upset.

With a roster full of experienced seniors and one of the best coaches in the sport, Michigan State could pull off the unthinkable.

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