With UNC on big stage, fans at home watch on big screen

— While more than 70,000 college basketball fans will pack Houston’s NRG Stadium Saturday night for two national semifinal games, thousands more will root for the Tar Heels in front of their televisions.

A luck few will see the game on the biggest of screens – the video boards inside the Dean E. Smith Center on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

The doors at the Smith Center open to the campus community – students, staff and faculty with ID – at 5 p.m. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., members of the general public can join what will rank as a huge pep rally and watch party.

Admission for all is free.

Tar Heel fans will also gather in bars and restaurants along Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street and around home televisions to watch the game, which is expected to tip off just before 9 p.m.

UNC meets Syracuse in the second game of the night. Villanova and Oklahome play first, with an estimated start time of 6:09 p.m. The winners of Saturday’s games advance to the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game on Monday night.

For the first time, all the games of the Final Four will be on cable television. Turner Broadcasting System (owners of TBS, TNT and TruTV among other networks) shares the rights to the NCAA Tournament with CBS, and the deal allows them to rotate the Final Four and national championship game.

,A luck few will see UNC play Syracuse Saturday night on the biggest of screens — the video boards inside the Dean E. Smith Center on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

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