If you had been told that the winner of the North Carolina-Texas A&M game would do so in dominating fashion, the likely assumption would have been that the Tar Heels were headed to play Michigan in the Sweet 16 of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. They were the defending champions, entered the game as the higher seed and just looked like the better team during the regular season.
Surprise! Texas A&M got whatever it wanted on offense and forced the Tar Heels into one of their worst shooting performances of the season on Sunday. With four players scoring in double figures, the Aggies rolled to an 86-65 victory at Charlotte, N.C., to earn their second Sweet 16 trip in three seasons.
The game began to turn midway through the first half, as the Aggies held North Carolina scoreless for a 6-minute stretch and ended the half on a 29-8 run. Texas A&M took a 42-28 lead into the break and only continued to build on it in the second half, with the lead mushrooming to as much as 24. The Tar Heels never got closer than the 14-point halftime deficit.
At one point, Robert Williams once again had the ability to bust out a windmill dunk, putting the perfect exclamation point on the game for the Aggies.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 18, 2018
It helped that the Tar Heels were ice-cold from 3-point range, which was a product of A&M’s stifling defense. The Tar Heels missed 17 of their first 18 3-point attempts and finished 6 for 31 from 3-point range.
The Aggies, meanwhile, connected on 10-of-24 3-pointers and did damage in the paint with the duo of Williams and Tyler Davis. After combining for 27 points and 29 rebounds against Providence in the first round, the pair combined for 26 points and 22 rebounds Sunday, along with 5 blocks. Davis finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds while Williams had 8 points and 13 rebounds. The Aggies also got double-digit scoring outputs from Admon Gilder (12), D.J. Hogg (14) and TJ Starks, who led the Aggies with 21 points.
North Carolina had played in the last two national title games, winning in 2017 after losing in 2016 to Villanova. Texas A&M didn’t even make the NCAA Tournament last season. Pedigree says that North Carolina should’ve won the game but Texas A&M was just better in every facet on Sunday.
With the win, the Aggies will head to Los Angeles to play in the Sweet 16 and face the Michigan Wolverines, who needed a buzzer-beater to get past Houston on Saturday. The two teams will meet on Thursday at the Staples Center, though a game time has not yet been announced.