No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 North Carolina Preview, National Championship Game Prediction

    Gonzaga vs. North Carolina prediction and game preview, as the No. 1 Bulldogs and No. 1 Tar Heels face off in the National Championship Game of the NCAA Tournament.

    April 2, 2017

    Gonzaga vs. North Carolina prediction and game preview, as the No. 1 Bulldogs and No. 1 Tar Heels face off in the National Championship Game of the NCAA Tournament.


    Gonzaga’s first-ever Final Four appearance isn’t over yet. The Zags jumped out to a 14-point lead in the second half, let it slip away, then responded with a run over their own to knock off South Carolina, 77-73, in Saturday night’s first national semifinal.

    Nigel Williams-Goss finished with 23 points, five rebounds and six assists, while freshman Zach Collins had his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Przemek Karnowski overcame a poke to the eye late in the first half to score 13 points for Gonzaga, which will face North Carolina in Monday night’s national championship game.

    The Tar Heels advanced with a 77-76 victory over Oregon in the second Final Four matchup Saturday night. Kennedy Meeks finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds, while Justin Jackson added 22 points. Meeks and Joel Berry II combined to miss four free throws in the final seconds as UNC tried to ice the victory, but the Heels got the offensive rebound both times and dribbled out the clock.

    Rebounding just might be the difference in UNC’s second consecutive trip to the national title game. The Tar Heels hope this one ends better, though.

    Gonzaga vs. North Carolina Game Preview

    Date: Monday, April 3, 2017
    Venue: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

    Gonzaga wins if …

    Karnowski and Collins stay out of foul trouble. Gonzaga led by 14 points when Collins joined Karnowski with 10:39 remaining in the game, and South Carolina went on a 14-0 run over the next three minutes before eventually taking the lead. Williams-Goss and Jordan Mathews hit a couple big shots down the stretch to help the Zags retake the lead and hold on, but keeping their big men out of foul trouble will be key against North Carolina’s front line.

    North Carolina wins if …

    Berry bounces back from his rough Final Four game. He finished 2 of 14 from the field and scored five of his 11 points at the free throw line, and that just won’t cut it going up against Williams-Goss. Berry has been battling injuries to both ankles but said this week he was ready to play. Maybe his ankles were bothering him Saturday, and if that’s the case then he’ll need to rest up Sunday if he plans to match Williams-Goss.

    Gonzaga vs. North Carolina Prediction

    Meeks and Jackson are just going to be a little too much for Karnowski and Collins down low. The Heels get redemption after last year’s heartbreaking loss to Villanova and defeat Gonzaga in a close game to claim the national championship.

    Gonzaga vs. North Carolina Score Prediction: North Carolina 74, Gonzaga 71

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