FORT WORTH, Texas — North Carolina blew out Marquette, 95-63, in the East Region First Round to advance to a meeting with the No. 1 seed Baylor Bears on Saturday.
Game time for the second-round NCAA Tournament matchup will be announced.
Saturday’s meeting will be a reunion of sorts. North Carolina (25-9) forward Brady Manek played four years for the Oklahoma Sooners before transferring to the Tar Heels for his COVID-19 waiver season. So he and the Bears, specifically head coach Scott Drew, are quite familiar with one another.
Manek is having as good a season as he had with the Sooners in 2019-20 when he scored 14.4 points per game. He carried the same scoring average into the NCAA Tournament. He played a huge role for the Tar Heels on Thursday, scoring 28 points as North Carolina had a 53-25 lead on Marquette at halftime and cruised to the win.
North Carolina, which got into the tournament as an at-large team from the ACC, is playing its first season under head coach Hubert Davis, who took over the program for Roy Williams, who retired after last season.
Guard Caleb Love added 23 points for the Tar Heels, while Armando Bacot had 17 points and Puff Johnson came off the bench to add 11 points. Manek and Bacot both had double-doubles, with 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively.
Marquette (19-13) got into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team out of the Big EAST under their first-year coach, Shaka Smart. He was at Texas last season, where he led the Longhorns to the Big 12 Tournament title but lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Abilene Christian. Smart took the Marquette job a week after that loss. He was replaced by Chris Beard.
Freshman forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper led the Golden Eagles with 16 points while guard Darryl Morsell added 11 points. Former Oklahoma Sooner Kur Kuath had six points and five rebounds for Marquette.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.