Amidst allegations, an NCAA investigation and possible sanctions, the University of North Carolina is in a great position to win the NCAA Tournament this weekend, and they will.
The Final Four tickets were punched last weekend and the Tar Heels were the only team that was able to avoid the heartbreak of an upset and survive the Elite Eight.
The first ticket was punched Saturday afternoon when Buddy Hield and his Oklahoma Sooners took on the No. 1 seed in the West Region, Oregon. Hield, who many thought was the front-runner for AP Player of the Year until Denzel Valentine took the honors, led the Sooners with 37 points.
Hield has been super human all year, averaging 29.3 PPG.
He and Oklahoma found out who they’d play in Houston this Saturday when the overall No. 1 seeded Kansas Jayhawks played Villanova.
Few people thought the Wildcats were actually capable of knocking off Kansas, but they did as four Villanova scorers got into double figures.
In recent years, the Wildcats have come to be known as choke artists, but this year, Jay Wright’s team looks dangerous and hungrier than ever.
Sunday, Virginia played Syracuse and the Orange showed everyone that the slipper still fits. Boeheim’s Syracuse team, that suffered NCAA sanctions this year, has proven everyone wrong and continues that trend.
Freshman Malachi Richardson led the charge with 23 points.
Finally, UNC took to the court on Sunday night against Notre Dame. The Tar Heels found themselves in a battle all night until an eventual 12-0 run put the game out of reach for the Irish.
Notre Dame couldn’t play against the size of Carolina’s front line. Senior forward Zach Auguste played just 21 minutes as he found himself in foul trouble early.
Roy Williams’ team has been successful on the offensive glass all year and Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks have been especially effective for the Tar Heels this year.
The win set UNC up with a third matchup against Syracuse on the year. The Tar Heels won the previous two matchups and expect them to do the same Saturday night.
Syracuse has some momentum and has been playing well, but aside from Virginia, the Orange have not been tested thus far in the tournament.
Syracuse beat Dayton in the opening round and Middle Tennessee State in the second round, avoiding Michigan State thanks to MTSU’s massive first-round upset.
Boeheim and his guys took on Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen and the Bulldogs front line gave Syracuse everything they could handle.
The Orange play Tyler Lydon at the five and he’s undersized to say the least at that position.
Expect Johnson, whose averaging 17.1 points and 10.5 rebounds to have his way with the Orange and even if he doesn’t, Meeks and Hicks should have no trouble.
The clock should finally strike midnight on Syracuse Saturday night and UNC should move on against the winner of Oklahoma and Villanova.
No matter which team wins that matchup, it is clear that game will be more predicated around guard play and the UNC guards against the Oklahoma or Villanova guards will be a heavyweight bout.
The Tar Heels have Marcus Paige, Joel Berry II and Justin Jackson at the guard spots and they can hold their own with anyone.
Jackson stands 6-foot-8 and is a size matchup for most guards, while Paige is one of the most prolific shooters in the country.
Carolina will win the National Championship this year and Coach Williams will be the sixth coach to win three championships surpassing his mentor, the great Dean Smith.