Some things to watch in the NCAA championship game

When Gonzaga meets North Carolina for the NCAA national championship tonight, it could be quite a brawl.

The Tar Heels (32-7) don't run a ton of set plays, but they're adept at creating their own shot and they share the ball (18.1 assists per game). SC got out to an early 10-8 lead about five minutes into the game but that would be the last lead change until very later in the game. Gonzaga is in unchartered waters, but also expects to be in this position.

Rose's team did it by sinking nine 3-pointers and limiting the damage done by Gonzaga's Przemek Karnowski. "I've just always been a UNC fan".

Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points, Gonzaga's big men combined for 27 and the Bulldogs kept SC from taking a game-tying shot in a 77-73 victory Saturday night in a matchup of first-time teams at the Final Four.

But Gonzaga hasn't faced a team with the size and depth as North Carolina, which is by far the nation's best team in terms of rebounding margin. At the defensive end, North Carolina will have to handle Gonzaga's raw bulk, not something the Tar Heels often see or can replicate in practice with Bradley and Maye on the second team. Despite not starting a game, Collins earned second team All-WCC honors after averaging 10 points and 5.9 rebounds a night. Much has been made of GU's run to the national championship, but don't forget this is UNC's 11th appearance in big game and the sixth for head coach Roy Williams.

"He came running up to my assistants the next day and said 'Did you, did you?' Few said of Williams".

Crashing the glass has been an emphasis for North Carolina all season, and that was no different in Saturday's Final Four matchup with Oregon.

Gonzaga (+2) over North Carolina: I get the feeling that even if the Zags were undefeated, the Tar Heels would still be favored. The Washington transfer has poured in 46 points over the last two games, leading the way for a red-hot offense that has hit 21 of 43 three-point attempts (48.8 percent) in those games and just hung an efficient 1.069 points per possession against a SC defense that had been stifling everyone.

North Carolina's most effective offensive weapon is a made field goal. That might not happen Monday if Hicks can't solve the riddle of what's gone wrong. If only it were that easy for the Tar Heels. The power forward hasn't scored in double digits since the opening round of the tournament. "It's a tough time for him as an individual".

Daniel Incerpi, the president of the basketball team's highly motivated booster club, grew up going to Catholic school and wanted a similar experience in college.

"Zach makes it look like you have a clear lane to the basket, but he's right there", Mathews said. I'm sure you're gonna hear some smacks and some pounding down there.

It took Few's urging for Gonzaga to supply the coach with resources he needed to stay successful. "I'd say the biggest thing we'll focus on is trying to eliminate them from getting as many post touches as possible". I don't really have a first impression.

Their leading scorer, Justin Jackson, 6-foot-8 junior from Tomball, Texas plays as a wing in UNC's top 12 scoring offense. It's a matter of who between the two big men has the upper hand.

"To be successful in our game is about taking things away from people and they do a terrific job of taking things away", West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. They have the size down low to at least force the GU bigs to think twice when they go up for a shot. "He's a big guy like me". And we've been guarding them, their plays really well all week. "So obviously I'll try to stop him from going to his moves".

"It won't keep him down", Meeks said.


Popular

CONNECT