This is it. The month of March spills into April and the legendary event known as March Madness ends with two teams and ultimatly one winner in the National Championship. This season, two of college basketball‘s most recognizable bluebloods, Kansas and North Carolina, will clash in a must-see event.
Kansas head coach Bill Self will be looking to add a second National championship to his resume, while UNC head coach Hubert Davis is looking to become the first head coach since Michigan’s Steve Fisher to win it all in his first year in charge.
That and so much more is on the line in this game.
NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament National Championship Game: When and Where
It’s a matchup of college basketball royalty. North Carolina versus Kansas may not have the rivalry aspect that UNC vs. Duke did, but these are still two of the biggest brands in the SPORT going head-to-head for college basketball immortality.
North Carolina has six national championships to celebrate so far, with title victories going as far back as 1957 and as recently as 2017.
Kansas has three national championships as a program, with the last one coming under Self in 2008.
This National Championship game between No. 1 Kansas and No. 8 North Carolina will take place at the Ceasars Superdome in New Orleans on Monday, April 4th. The game tips off at 9:20 p.m. EST and can be watched on TBS or March Madness Live.
The announce team for the game is Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, and Tracy Wolfson
Two questions for the Kansas Jayhawks
Can Ochai Agbaji continue his sharp shooting?
Senior guard Ochai Agbaji was incredible for the Jayhawks againts Villanova, and Kansas will need another big game out of him to outpace North Carolina.
Agbaji, a candidate for the John R. Wooden Award, which goes to the college basketball player of the year, scored 21 for the Jayhawks thanks to a 6-of-7 showing from three-point range.
He started the game hot, going 4-of-4 behind the arch, and finished 2-of-2 behind the line in the second half. Agbaji also went 3-of-4 from the charity stripe.
If he can stay hot against North Carolina, Kansas has a great shot at winning.
Will David McCormack be able to take advantage of UNC down low?
David McCormack was otherworldly against Villanova, putting up 25 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes for the Jayhawks.
He’s a big 6-foot-10, 250-pound senior center with the size to absolutely bully defenders down low and make the rim pay when he’s able to elevate.
North Carolina’s center, Armando Bacot, is big and talented enough to matchup with McCormack down low, but he’s coming off an ankle injury he suffered at the end of UNC’s win over Duke.
With Bacot gimpy and UNC’s other big man, Brady Manek, checking in at 6-foot-9, 230-pounds (20 pounds lighter than McCormack) McCormack and the Jayhawks could have a huge advantage down low in this game.
Two questions for the North Carolina Tar Heels
Can Caleb Love carry momentum over from his terrific second half against Duke?
North Carolina’s sophomore guard, Caleb Love, was special in the win against Duke. Not only did he lead the team with 28 points, but 22 of those points came in the second half against the Blue Devils.
He was on fire and hit big shot after big shot for UNC, including a dagger three-pointer with 26.4 seconds left to give the Tar Heels a four-point lead.
Momentum doesn’t always translate game-to-game in sports, but in a setting like March Madness, where momentum is everything, it will be interesting to see if Love starts out hot for UNC and keeps on rolling.
Can Brady Manek lead the Tar Heels down low?
With Bacot potentially hobbled and his effectiveness moving forward unknown, some responsibility will fall on senior grad transfer Brady Manek to bang around down low for the Tar Heels.
Manek has an excellent three-point shot and can be a sniper for UNC from the outside, but the Tar Heels will need him to play physically inside the paint as well, especially if he’s given the added responsibility of checking McCormack if Bacot is limited.
National Championship Betting Lines and information
Kansas -4 (-110), win (-185)
North Carolina: +4 (-110), win (+160)
Team to score first:
Kansas (-126), North Carolina (-107)
First team to 40 points:
Kansas (-189), North Carolina (+140)
Will there be overtime?
Yes (+800), No (-2500)
Betting information via according to Bovada.net
Stats courtesy of ESPN.
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