College basketball national championship prediction

Movie quote of the day:

“They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially colonized it. So, technically, I colonized Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong.”

– Mark Watney, “The Martian” (2015)

North Carolina forward Brice Johnson.
North Carolina forward Brice Johnson.

Villanova (34-5) vs. North Carolina (33-6)
NRG Stadium
Houston
Line: UNC -2.0

March Madness comes to an end tonight as the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Villanova Wildcats battle for the national championship. I have to be honest, I didn’t watch much of the tournament after WVU got eliminated, but I’m excited to watch this game. This should be an interesting game between these two teams from the East Coast.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright.
Villanova head coach Jay Wright.

This is Villanova’s first appearance in a national championship ever since former coach Rollie Massimino led the eighth-seeded Wildcats to a national title in 1985 over the favorite, Georgetown. Thirty-one years later, head coach Jay Wright has Villanova back in the title game. The Wildcats have been playing their best basketball in this tournament. They’ve shot 58.3 percent from the field and averaged close to 85 points per game, while holding opponents to just 61 points per game and 42 percent shooting. That’s no easy task considering that they had to knock off Kansas and Oklahoma to get to this point.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams.
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams.

North Carolina finds itself in the national championship for the third time in 11 years. All three appearances have come under Roy Williams’ regime. UNC is the favorite for this game, but not by much. The Tar Heels have played well to get to this point. They’ve averaged shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 88 points per game, while holding opponents to 44.1 percent shooting and 72 points per game. The Tar Heels have a ton of talent led by Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige.

The Tar Heels have the edge on the boards. In fact, UNC is the best rebounding team in the country, and UNC has a very deep roster. UNC is good enough defensively. It will be hard for Villanova to win if the Wildcats have to settle for jump shots. UNC’s bread and butter is on the offensive end. Villanova will, once again, have to bring it’s A-game to slow down the Tar Heels’ offensive fire power. That’s not a tall task for the Wildcats after they held the nation’s top scorer, Buddy Hield, to just nine points, and held a great Oklahoma offense to only 44 points Saturday. Not to mention the Wildcats held a very talented Kansas squad to just 59 points in the Elite Eight matchup.

Villanova forward Kris Jenkins.
Villanova forward Kris Jenkins.

I don’t know what to make of North Carolina. They’re plenty talented, but I feel like they’ve had an easy road to the title game. The Tar Heels definitely haven’t played a team near the caliber of Villanova in this tournament, and I haven’t been impressed with UNC defensively recently. Villanova isn’t a better team than North Carolina, but they’ve been playing the best basketball in this tournament. I think Wright is one of the underrated coaches in college basketball and I like the Wildcats to get the upset.

Prediction: Villanova 74, North Carolina 70

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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