#2 Villanova (34-5) vs #1 North Carolina (33-6)
When: Monday, April 4th 2016
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Time: 9:19 ET | TV: TBS
Two of the hottest teams in the country meet in this year’s National Championship Game when the Villanova Wildcats take on the North Carolina Tar Heels. Villanova is looking for its first title since the famous 1985 team that upset Georgetown and are coming off the largest victory in Final Four history. The Wildcats shot an amazing 71.4% from the field en route to a 95-51 victory over Oklahoma. They held OU star Buddy Hield to just nine points including 1-of-8 from three-point territory. The Wildcats defense held the Sooners to just 31.7% shooting and 6-of-27 from beyond the arc. Josh Hart led all scorers with 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting and leads the Wildcats in scoring this season (15.5). Kris Jenkins (13.6 average, team-high 98 3-pointers) and senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono (12.4 average, 74 3-pointers) each scored in double-figures as well. Daniel Ochefu will be asked to take on a talented North Carolina front-court in tonight’s game. The senior averages 10.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and has blocked 55 shots this season. Villanova has won their five tournament games by an average of 24.2 points.
The Tar Heels are looking for their sixth national championship and have won each tournament game this season by double-digits. North Carolina breezed by tenth-seeded Syracuse on Saturday 83-66 behind a balanced team effort. Four starters scored at least 13 points and three of them pulled down 7 or more rebounds. Brice Johnson is the Tar Heels’ top player with averages of 17 points and 10.5 rebounds and three other players average more than 12 points per game. Senior point guard Marcus Paige (12.3) has been hot from beyond the arc during the tournament by going 16-of-34 and he holds the school record of 295 career 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Joel Berry II, who led the ‘Heels with 10 assists on Saturday, averages 12.6 points and sophomore forward Justin Jackson averages 12.3. Kennedy Meeks (9.4 points, 5.9 rebounds) has had a hot hand during the tournament and has hit 16-of-22 shots over the past three contests.
I think we really are getting the two best teams in this championship game. North Carolina should win the battle underneath, but the Wildcats are shooting lights-out right now and if they get a big lead, North Carolina will have a hard time catching up. They are one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country at 35.9%. I think Villanova wins by five or more.
Pick: Villanova +3