North Carolina vs. Villanova Picks – NCAA Championship Game

    North Carolina vs. Villanova picks for the NCAA championship game between the Tar Heels and Wildcats.

    April 3, 2016

    North Carolina vs. Villanova picks for the NCAA championship game between the Tar Heels and Wildcats.

    What a path it’s been for Roy Williams in this NCAA Tournament.

    North Carolina made a powerful statement when it won the ACC Tournament, prevailing in the conference that sent the most teams to the Big Dance by a considerable margin. That statement got hooked up to an amplifier and cranked to the highest volume notch after the Tar Heels made mince meat of their competition on their way to the national championship game.

    Now, Roy Williams holds as good a chance as ever to take the national championship back to Chapel Hill for the first time since 2009. The Heels are firing on all cylinders at the perfect time, and with the likes of Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige leading the way, it’s hard to imagine anyone slowing them down.

    If North Carolina wants to cut down the nets in Houston, though, the player they’ll need a big-time performance from is Justin Jackson. The sophomore phenom continually puts up solid numbers and makes smart plays for his team during crunch time. His rebounding efforts and defense in the post plays a huge part in the team’s success, and with his ability to stretch the floor and knock down the triple, the Heels add another dimension to their game.

    If Jackson can continue to be the silent difference-maker and the rest of the lineup keeps doing what they’re doing, then we might as well just give North Carolina the trophy right now.

    Villanova, however, might have something to say about that. So many people doubted the Wildcats based on the team’s recent history in the NCAA Tournament.

    But this year’s Cats are legit. They’re now one game away from winning the national championship for the first time since 1985. Ryan Arcidiacono is a true floor general and has been key to his team’s success this season. With Arcidiacono running the point and Jay Wright on the sidelines, Villanova practically has two head coaches operating at all times.

    Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins know how to score, and with Arcidiacono’s ability to set a play and find the open man, Nova has some brilliant weapons to utilize. That, along with the team’s suffocating defense and elite athleticism, are the reason the Wildcats are where they are.

    But if Jay Wright wants to climb that ladder to cut down the nets in Houston, he’ll need a big performance from senior forward, Daniel Ochefu. The big man demands attention in the interior with his physical presence and scoring abilities under the rim, not only giving Villanova that tough scoring presence inside, but also allowing the back court to thrive and move around freely. When Ochefu is scoring the ball, the three point threats are getting good looks and the Cats are succeeding.

    Few teams operate as a cohesive unit as well as Villanova does. The Cats play team basketball, which is fun to watch and really, really hard to beat.

    After dominating Final Four victories by both teams, the championship game is officially set. The Tar Heels and Wildcats will dance for all the marbles on Monday night. Below are the Campus Insiders North Carolina vs. Villanova picks.

    North Carolina vs. Villanova Picks

    Pete Fiutak

    I told you this thing was over and there was no need to watch. Did you listen? Nooooo. And what happened? You sat through the utter trainwreck of a Final Four instead of doing something whimsical with your Saturday night. Of course Villanova – with a week to prepare and the Sooners shooting into a nightmare of a NRG Stadium background – was going to beat Oklahoma. Of course North Carolina was going to correct the cosmic wrong of the ACC’s ninth-best team getting to the Final Four. Of course the Tar Heels are going to win the national championship because they’re going to get past the Wildcat D to score at will. Of course UNC is going to use its length and size to overpower Villanova inside and out. But you knew that already.

    Glenn McGraw

    Welcome to your first championship game since 1985, Villanova. Your reward? A date with the best team in the country, North Carolina. The Tar Heels out-power the Wildcats for the program’s sixth national championship. 

    Jonathan Bass

    North Carolina. Villanova plays with beautiful balance, but the Tar Heels are just too talented and too in synch.

    Robert Judin

    North Carolina has been impressive, but I’m going with the more complete team here, and that’s Villanova. Wildcats win their second championship in program history. 

    Sam Falcone

    After what Villanova did to Oklahoma, how can anyone pick against the
    Wildcats? That was one of the most stellar defensive performances I’ve
    ever seen, and a clear example of defense translating into offense.
    Now, North Carolina has an incredibly balanced and efficient scoring
    attack (look at their box score vs. Syracuse), but the Heels don’t get
    enough production behind the arc. That, combined with another
    suffocating performance from the Wildcat defense, will give Villanova
    its first National Championship since 1985.

    MORE: The Best NCAA Tournament Coverage On The Web


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