It is Final Four weekend and the NCAA Tournament is about to be wrapped up. Oklahoma, Villanova, North Carolina and Syracuse have survived and now are on the cusp of a National Championship. The one team that will achieve the honor of National Champion is North Carolina.
With Kansas eliminated, North Carolina is the best seed remaining, but there are a lot of factors that make them the favorites to take home the trophy. The Tarheels have a lot of talent and experience on their team. Marcus Paige has been one of the best point guards in college basketball over the past four seasons. He is the all time leader in three point field goals made for North Carolina and has also been a great passer for the Tarheels. To go along with Paige, North Carolina has a post presence in Brice Johnson. He is also a senior and has steadily improved his game over his career. Paige and Johnson are the two key players, but the other players on the team are more than capable of stepping up to help their team win the championship.
A lot of teams are probably going to be fatigued or get in foul trouble this weekend. For some teams this would be a big issue because of their lack of depth, but not for North Carolina. The Tarheels have a deep roster and regularly play ten different players. Eight players on their team average more than four points per game. If they get in foul trouble they should be able to put their subs and keep their productivity up.
One of the biggest factors in who will win the National Championship is actually the arena where it is played. This weekend the Final Four and National Championship will be played in NRG Stadium in Houston Texas. Historically this has been a tough arena to for teams to shoot well. The 2011 NCAA Championship Game was played in NRG Stadium and it produced a terrible offensive game for both Butler and UConn. UConn won the National Championship in a miserable 53-41 game. The combined field goal percentage for the game was 26.1%, which was the worst since 1948.
So why does the arena that makes teams shoot low percentage favor North Carolina? The Tarheels aren’t a great shooting team and don’t rely on the the three point line to generate their points. They have a few players who can shoot threes, but for the most part they get to the basket. Their leading scorer, Johnson, scores on the inside with post moves and dunks. The guards do a great job of penetrating defenses to get into the lane for easier shots. With this strategy, the Tarheels should be able to be more efficient on offense then the other teams in the Final Four. Oklahoma, Villanova and Syracuse are all teams that rely on the three point shot to win games and may have to adjust their offensive philosophy to win a championship.
North Carolina has the talent, experience, depth and offensive philosophy to take home the title on Monday night.
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