Final Four: North Carolina (32-7) vs. Gonzaga (37-1) Prediction & Game Preview
NCAA National Championship: North Carolina vs. Gonzaga fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Monday, April 3
Game Time: 9:20 pm ET
Venue: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
What’s the deal with North Carolina?
Ho hum. A 20th Final Four with a second straight trip to the national championship. It’s business as usual for the bluest of blue bloods.
The Tar Heels didn’t play all that well against Oregon, and they had a nightmare of a time closing things out – with missed free throws almost turning into a killer in a 77-76 win – but they survived.
However, they if it wasn’t for Kennedy Meeks’ final rebound, UNC would’ve lost the rebounding battle for just the fourth time on the year. But Meeks saved the day, hitting 11-of-13 from the field with 14 rebounds – eight on the offensive glass.
Of course, the storyline up until game time will be Joel Berry’s ankle problems. He fought through the problems, but he only hit 2-of-14 shots with two assists. The Tar Heels are going to need him, and the sharpshooting of Justin Jackson – who cranked up 22 points – to move on.
What’s the deal with Gonzaga?
The Bulldogs did everything they could to let South Carolina come way too close to pulling off the comeback win. The Gamecocks had something to do with that, but the Zags can’t play like that against North Carolina and win.
They did everything they normally do, cranking up the three – hitting 9-of-19 – while allowing USC to showed under 38% from the field.
With the second-best D in college basketball, the versatility to hit inside or out, and the size to matchup up relatively well against the Tar Heel athleticism and bulk, it’s all in place to prove that this really was the best team in college basketball throughout the season.
What’s Going To Happen
It’s the game the 2017 season deserved.
Is Gonzaga really ready to break through for the quote-unquote mid-majors, and show that the program that’s been on the verge of big things for so long is really national title-worthy?
As insane as this might sound – considering it’s in the national championship – the Bulldogs have caught a few breaks, getting Xavier and South Carolina over the final two games to get to Monday night – instead of Villanova, Duke or Arizona.
But the Bulldogs beat Arizona early in the year. And Florida. And Iowa State. And then they proved to be an amazing team against a soft schedule.
Blow off the idea that North Carolina will be more motivated after the way it last last year’s national title game – that’s not going to matter a lick.
However, Jackson on the outside, Meeks on the inside, and the depth should be just enough to get by. Gonzaga is the real deal, but North Carolina will be the real national champ.
Fearless Prediction & Line
North Carolina 77, Gonzaga 72
Line: North Carolina -2, o/u: 153.5
ATS Confidence: 3
5: Leave Vegas richer in body, mind & spirit
1: Leave the sportsbook, get tickets for Menopause The Musical or Puppetry of the Penis