Gonzaga (37-1) vs. North Carolina (32-7)
Colton Bennett: Keys for North Carolina
North Carolina will need Joel Berry II to play like he did against Butler when he scored 26-points on 8-13 shooting. He can’t have another 2-14 game like he did in the semi-final against Oregon. Kennedy Meeks and the rest of Tar Heel bigs should try to beat Karnowski and Collins down the floor every offensive possession. Justin Jackson getting enough offensive touches will also be important as small forward has been seen as Gonzaga’s weakest position for much of the season.
Colton Bennett Prediction: North Carolina 63, Gonzaga 58
Mark Alewine: Keys for Gonzaga
North Carolina will try to beat the Bulldogs up and down the floor, and will especially zero in on senior Kennedy Meeks’ athletic advantage over Gonzaga senior Przemek Karnowski. Where Karnowski wins in size, Meeks whens in overall athleticism. The Bulldogs have no choice to try to beat Carolina at its own game.
This will open the door for Gonzaga freshman Zach Collins to continue his performance from Saturday night in the national semifinal win over South Carolina. Collins scored 14 points with 13 rebounds and six blocks and provided an important contribution with the injured Karnowski on the bench near the end of the first half. Gonzaga’s one-two punch to win in the paint will be to exhaust Meeks to keep up with Collins and wear him down with Karnowski’s physicality.
Mark Alewine Prediction: Gonzaga 75, North Carolina 72