Sunday, March 29, 2009

Plenty of history between UNC, 'Nova

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- North Carolina and Villanova have a long, rich history of conflict in the NCAA Tournament, including a couple of heartbreaks on each side.

When the two meet Saturday at about 9 p.m. in the Detroit Final Four, it'll be their fifth NCAA game.

The Heels have won three of the previous four. But in 1985 at Birmingham, Rollie Massimino's eventual national championship Wildcats defended the life out of the Tar Heels' season, winning 56-44 en route to the Lexington Final Four and a championship win over Big East rival Georgetown.

Three seasons earlier, Dean Smith and UNC had stopped the Wildcats, 71-60, in the East Regional title game at N.C. State's Reynolds Coliseum.

That UNC team won the title and over the same opponent Villanova beat in '85.

In 2005, the Heels had perhaps their most difficult NCAA game in a 67-66 escape against the Wildcats in a third-round East game at Syracuse. Lots of Villanova fans that night thought Carolina got more than its fair share of officiating judgments.

Carolina made the most of the escape, though. Roy Williams' team then defeated Wisconsin in the regional final and outlasted two more Big Ten teams -- Michigan State and Illinois -- in the Final Four at St. Louis.

The Heels' most difficult season ever against Villanova was in 1995-96, when they lost to the 'Cats in the championship game of the Maui Invitational and then absorbed a second loss a month or so later in the Smith Center.


AJ said...

Notice that whenever Carolina and Villanova have met in the NCAA Tourney, the winner goes on to cut down the nets? Let's hope that stays true this year and Carolina beats 'Nova on Saturday!

Anonymous said...

Let's hope the refs don't decide to hand the game to the Heels by calling a bogus travel call with 10seconds left...

Go 'Nova!