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March 15, 2009For the fourth time in the last five years, North Carolina has earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The top seed in the South Region, the Tar Heels (28-4) will be playing No. 16 seed Radford (21-11) Thursday night in Greensboro.
"We are ecstatic to be in the Tournament as a number one seed," said UNC head coach Roy Williams. "Our body of work for the season has been very good and we appreciate that the NCAA selection committee recognized and rewarded us for that. We would have loved to win the ACC Tournament, as well, but we congratulate Duke for winning today. I am extremely happy that seven ACC teams made the field. I would have loved for an eighth team to make it, but still I am very happy about getting seven in."
This is UNC's sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance under Williams dating back to 2004. The Tar Heels had previously set a record with 27 straight NCAA Tournament appearances between 1975 and 2001, but UNC missed the Big Dance in back-to-back years in 2002 and 2003.
This is the third straight season that the Tar Heels will begin the NCAA Tournament in the state of North Carolina. In 2007 the Tar Heels played the opening two rounds in Winston-Salem, while on 2008 UNC played in Raleigh in the first two rounds and Charlotte in the East Regionals on its way to the Final Four in San Antonio.
"Playing in Greensboro is great for our fans and students, but now we have to play well no matter where or when we play," said Williams. "Every coach in the field thinks his draw is the toughest and I am no exception. However, we can't be concerned with what the other teams in the field are doing. We have to concern ourselves with our team and how we are playing."
The Tar Heels expect to have Ty Lawson back for the NCAA Tournament after he sat out the ACC Tournament this weekend.
Lawson, the ACC player of the year, is one of five Tar Heel players to average in double figures in scoring this season. He, along with teammate Tyler Hansbrough, were both named The Sporting News All-Americans.
The Tar Heels head to the NCAA Tournament as ACC regular season champions with an overall record of 28-4.