NCAA Championship Game Tomorrow In Phoenix

By Ryan Touhey,

Tomorrow night’s NCAA Championship game will be battled out between Gonzaga and North Carolina, at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Gonzaga and North Carolina both had to fight their way to the championship. Gonzaga defeated South Carolina last night 77-73 to advance, while North Carolina hung on to defeat Oregon 77-76.

For Gonzaga, it’s the first time the school will play for the National Championship. They had had 18 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, without ever getting to the Final Four. They entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed in the West Region, and entered as the team with the fewest losses out of all the others in the west and other regions.

According to Bleacher Report, the Bulldogs are the No. 1 team in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, which should come into play against the Tar Heels. However, their weakness is that their ranked at No. 222 in the nation, in defensive turnover percentage.

North Carolina have been installed as the favorite to win the National Championship. They will be making their second straight championship appearance and will look to redeem themselves from last year’s thriller against Villanova. This will also be the fourth championship appearance for the Tar Heels in 13 seasons, dating back to 2005.

The Tar Heels’ biggest strength according to Bleacher Report, is their ability to rebound. They’re ranked No. 1 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. However, they’ve struggled at the free throw line during the tournament, shooting an uncharacteristic-like 70.1 percent from the line.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, looks to become the sixth men’s college basketball coach with at least three National titles. If North Carolina were to defeat Gonzaga, Williams would join John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski, Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight, and Jim Calhoun, as the coaches in that category.

North Carolina has their strengths in players such as senior forward Kennedy Meeks, who leads UNC in rebounding, at 9.3 rebounds per game. Justin Jackson also has been on fire during the tournament, with 20.1 points per game. He hit four of nine three point shots against Oregon. He was named the ACC Player of the Year and is 38 percent from behind the arc, up 11 percent from last season.

Meanwhile for Gonzaga, they look to hoist that trophy over their heads for the first time ever. Some of their players to look out for during the game according to Bleacher Report, are Josh Perkins and Silas Melson. Perkins won’t shoot too much, but he’s very accurate when he does do it, especially from behind the arc. He shoots his threes at 39.5 percent.

Melson on the other hand, had a strong game against South Carolina. His three-point shooting early on propelled the Bulldogs to go 9 for 19 from shooting threes. He has made five points per game during the tournament.

The game time tomorrow will be at 9:20, eastern standard time.

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