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Three Reasons Why the North Carolina Tar Heels Will Win the National Title
1. Winning Pedigree
Much has already been said about North Carolina’s dominance at the Big Dance, but it’s worth reiterating now just to illustrate what Gonzaga is going up against this Monday. Under head coach Roy Williams, the Tar Heels have been to six Final Fours and have won two national titles (2005 and 2009).
The school’s excellence even goes far beyond Williams’ tenure. UNC has the most No. 1 seeds and Final-Four appearances at the NCAA Tournament, and it’s also been ranked No. 1 in the country on more occasions that all Division I programs in the nation.
2. Title-Game Experience
For all of the Tar Heels’ accolades over the past decade, their run from the previous season ended on a bitter note as Villanova shocked them with a game-winning buzzer-beater at the title game. Nevertheless, this year’s roster consists of six players from that 2015-16 campaign, with starters Joel Berry II, Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks making up half of those guys eager to exact vengeance from their heartbreaking defeat to the Wildcats.
Meeks, in particular, should warrant the most attention from the Bulldogs this Monday. The senior forward arguably had the game of his life this past weekend, putting up a sweet double-double line of 25 points and 14 rebounds against the Oregon Ducks in the Elite Eight clash. He along with Hicks should serve as the perfect foils to Gonzaga’s own pair of standout big men in Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins.
3. Perimeter Defense
While Meeks and Justin Jackson (no less than 19 points over the last three games) were undoubtedly the team’s co-MVPs in the win over the Ducks, it’s really North Carolina’s defense from three-point range that has led them to this point. The ‘Heels allowed just seven three’s apiece to Oregon and Kentucky, with the Wildcats shooting just 36.8 percent from deep and the Ducks at an even worse 26.9 percent.
Gonzaga’s offense often relies on shots from deep, with the team making nearly half of their three-point attempts in each of its last two contests. It appears that Monday’s showdown will be decided from beyond the arc, and rest assure that UNC will do whatever it takes to prevent another three-pointer like what Villanova had done last year from ending their title hopes all over again.
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