PREVIEW: North Carolina and Villanova battle for greatness
North Carolina vs. Villanova. Not unlikely, yet under the radar. Fantastic scorers on both squads, but even better team chemistry.
Two teams will face off in the national title. One will be crowned champion.
Both schools each hold their own mantra, pace, and swagger for the collegiate game. North Carolina rarely shooting 3’s, but pounding it inside and playing old school basketball. The Villanova squad loves firing it from beyond the arc, shooting 36% and getting to the charity stripe 782 times, while shooting an impressive 78% from the line.
This will mark Villanova’s third time ever in the National Championship, last playing in 1985 which resulted in a win over Georgetown. For the Tar Heels, this could be their sixth title in 10 appearances (Fourth most – all time). Even more astonishing, UNC has won their last four NCAA finals in a row, (1982, 1993, 2005, 2009).
Marcus Paige leads an incredible backcourt for UNC. This season, Paige passed Michael Jordan in UNC career scoring and became one of only two players in ACC history to score 1,800 points, have 500 assists, grab 350 rebounds, and make 275 three-pointers, and record 200 steals. (Duke’s Jason Williams is the other.)
Paige is incredibly patient and quick; a leader, (first ‘Heel to be captain for three seasons). His athletic ability speaks for itself and it’s to be expected Villanova’s Jay Wright will throw multiple different defenders on Paige to disrupt his game.
Even if UNC relaxes in the backcourt, length is a huge benefactor for the Tarheels and their bigs. Uncontested lay ups for Nova could simultaneously turn into blocked shots for North Carolina. Roy Williams is one of the ultimate game planners: expect him to keep up an up tempo game on transition when necessary.
Josh Hart and Ryan Arcidiacono will try to hold their ground on the defensive end with UNC’s high powered guards.
Kris Jenkins is 2nd on the team in regards to scoring, a forward that averages 13 points per game.
What will be interesting is how Nova will play better defensively. They’re known to let teams (not counting the Oklahoma annihilation in the Final 4) score points and get out on runs in the beginning of the game.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
There’s lot riding on the line for Roy Williams and his legacy. If he were to register a victory, it gets him back on top regarding best men’s NCAA basketball coaches. His resume speaks for itself.
Roy Williams will be coaching his 5th NCAA Championship game, seeking his third title. He had previously lost 2 with Kansas in 1991 and 2003. Roy Williams in the tournament has been superb with a record of 70-23 (36-9 at UNC). His demeanor and trust in his players could ultimately be the biggest factor for his squad to get a win.
Jay Wright is a completely different story with less of a legacy on the line but is dealing with the pride of Villanova’s students, alums, and fans, and more importantly, the BIG EAST. Villanova hasn’t been to the championship title game since 1985. A couple of Final Fours have kept Nova fans at bay but the Wildcat faithful are itching for a title.
This is going to be a highly contested game. The matchup of two very talented back courts with big men that love to contribute as well, March Madness fans should be dialed in for an epic contest.
It’s difficult to pick a champion on paper, but my money is on UNC to win a back and forth game. My X-Factor? Whoever has the ball last.
North Carolina 88, Villanova 85