North Carolina earns the top seed in the West Region after missing NCAA Tournament last year

North Carolina is the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament West Region a year after being left out of the bracket.

The fourth-ranked Tar Heels will open March Madness just down the road in Charlotte on Thursday against the First Four winner between Howard and Wagner.

The West Region also includes Arizona, Alabama, Baylor and Michigan State.

North Carolina found itself in a rare position in coach Hubert Davis’ second season a year ago, going from preseason No. 1 to watching the NCAA Tournament from home.

Behind RJ Davis and Armando Bacot, the Tar Heels opened this season at No. 19 in the AP Top 25 and steadily climbed the polls, reaching No. 3 for a three-week stretch.

North Carolina went 27-7 overall and 17-3 to win its first outright Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title in seven years before losing to North Carolina State 84-76 in the ACC tournament championship game.

Davis was stellar in his senior season, leading the ACC with 21.4 points per game. Bacot continued to dominate in the paint, averaging 14.1 points and 10.2 rebounds. Both played in the 2022 national championship game.

The Tar Heels also got a big lift from Stanford transfer Harrison Ingram and sharpshooter Cormac Ryan to sweep rival Duke.


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