March Madness Finals Preview
Gonzaga vs UNC Preview
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The stage is set for the championship game tonight. UNC and Gonzaga have outlasted the Cinderella stories and fellow powerhouse programs to reach the finals. UNC had to get past Oregon in the Final Four and showed why they’re the best rebounding team in the nation with two offensive rebounds at the end of the game to seal the win. Gonzaga outlasted a late South Carolina comeback and ended their improbable Final Four run.
The biggest question of the night will be whether or not UNC’s big men can hang down low with Gonzaga’s pair of 7 footers: Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins. UNC needs a huge game out of their big men Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks if they want to contend with Gonzaga. While undersized compared to Gonzaga’s big men, UNC’s bigs outwork and out hustle their opponents to be productive despite their lack of size. This was evident in their Final Four game against Oregon when they just seemed to want it more than everyone else. UNC will lean heavily on the shooting of junior Justin Jackson and playmaking ability of junior Joel Berry. These two will have to carry the scoring load tonight if their bigs can’t get anything going down low. Jackson is averaging 20.2 points per game in the tournament and will need to continue this scoring in order for UNC to win.
Gonzaga’s keys to victory will center around the play of Kanowski, Collins, and point guard Nigel Williams-Goss. Karnowski and Collins will be looking to capitalize on their size advantage and control the paint. These two have carried Gonzaga through the tournament and will look to take over yet again tonight. Williams-Goss has to be able to contain the play making of UNC’s Joel Berry as well as provide Gonzaga with perimeter scoring. Williams-Goss has been a huge spark for Gonzaga, most notably scoring 23 points against South Carolina in the Final Four. He will be looked upon to add balance to Gonzaga’s offense.
Another big matchup tonight will be the coaching battle. UNC’s Roy Williams has been to 6 championship games in his career, most recently last years loss to Villanova, and has won 2 of them. Gonzaga’s Mark Few has never been to a championship game and made his first Final Four appearance this season.
Tonight’s game is all set for showdown between two battle tested and talented teams.