#1 Gonzaga vs. #1 North Carolina
9:20 ET, CBS
Player to Watch: Kennedy Meeks
In the national semifinal win over Oregon, Meeks imposed his will finishing with 25 points and 14rebounds. The senior big man obviously had the height and size advantage in comparison to the smaller Oregon front-court. Gonzaga will be a whole different animal. The duo of senior-freshman centers Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins will be a completely different look forMeeks. He’ll have to be smart with his fouls and try to gain an advantage right away down-low for the ‘Heels to be successful.
X-Factor: Control Williams-Goss
Nigel Williams-Goss has been the main driving force for Gonzaga’s offense this whole season especially in the NCAA Tournament. With Joel Berry’s ankles not one hundred percent, it’ll be interesting to see who Roy Williams decides to guard Williams-Goss. When Williams-Goss is struggling, Gonzaga has a tough time finding efficiency on the offensive end which gives Tarheel defenders an even larger incentive to lock up Williams-Goss on every possession and make sure he works for every shot.
Player to Watch: Zach Collins
The diaper dandy and former McDonald All-American has earned him a spot on experts’ draft boards due to his stellar play the past couple weeks. Collins has come off the bench and has made key contributions throughout the whole year. When Karnowski is subbed out of the contest, Collins has done a great job stepping up and raising his teams level of play. His versatility matches up evenly with UNC’s frontcourt which will be something to watch for in the championship game.
X-Factor: Control Offensive Glass
If you haven’t figured it out, North Carolina is the best team in the nation when it comes to crashing the offensive glass. In order for the ‘Zags to be successful, they need to make it a priority to box out and protect the lane from Tarheel rebounders.
Prediction: Gonzaga 78, North Carolina 77
This game is going to be a classic. Two of the best all-around teams in college basketball will be fighting for a chance to be crowned national champions. In the end, I think the play of Nigel Williams-Goss is going to be tough for Carolina to contain and will be the difference maker. It’s going to come down to the final possession.
Photo via Seattle Times