North Carolina Reaches Second Straight National Championship GameBy David A.
The NCAA National Championship Game will be played on Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona when the Gonzaga Bulldogs play the North Carolina Tar Heels.
The current line has North Carolina favored by 1.5 points with the over/under point total on 153.5. The best place to watch this NCAA Championship game in Las Vegas is here.
The Tar Heels will be playing in their second straight national title game. Last season North Carolina lost to Villanova in the title game 77-74.
Gonzaga led by as many as 14 points in the second half of its national semifinal game against South Carolina but squandered that lead only to come back with a late run of its own to defeated the stubborn Gamecocks 77-73 to move on to the championship final on Monday.
Gonzaga high scorer Nigel Williams-Goss led the team with 23 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Zach Collins, a freshman, scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
North Carolina advanced to the title game with a hard fought 77-76 win over Oregon. Kennedy Meeks scored 25 points and grabbed 14 points to lead the Tar Heels, while team high scorer Justin Jackson finished with 22 points.
North Carolina’s Meeks and point guard Joel Berry II missed four free throws in the last few seconds when North Carolina was trying to ice the win, but an offensive rebound by the Tar Heels both times on the second free throw allowed North Carolina to run out the clock.
Gonzaga will need both Collins and Przemek Karnowski to stay out of foul trouble if they want to win this title game. When both players sat down with over 10 minutes left in Saturday’s game, South Carolina scored 14 straight points.
Berry must play well if North Carolina hopes to win. The Tar Heels point guard hit just 2 of his 14 shots against Oregon and scored just 11 points of which five were from the free throw line.
The game will come down to Gonzaga’s shooting from outside offsetting the rebounding advantage of North Carolina on both ends of the court.
Gonzaga is 1-4-1 ATS in its past 6 games in the NCAA Tournament.
North Carolina is 3-0-1 ATS in its past 4 games following a loss ATS.
Prediction: This game will be tightly contested from start to finish, but in the end the North Carolina advantage on the glass will be the difference. Lean here toward the Tar Heels.