Looking to advance to the national championship for the second year in a row, North Carolina will first have to get past Oregon, who is fresh off a dominant performance against another No. 1 seed in Kansas.
Ignore the seeds in this one. Both the Tar Heels and Ducks have been Top-10 in every AP poll since February, and both are legitimate threats to cut down the nets on Monday night.
Here’s a preview of the anticipated matchup:
UNC vs. Oregon Final Four Odds
Spread: UNC (-5), per OddsShark.com
Moneyline: UNC (-210), Oregon (+175)
UNC Record Against the Spread: 19-16-2
Oregon Record Against the Spread: 22-14-1
Preview & Prediction
While Dillon Brooks is the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a clear star, Oregon’s success in this tournament has been keyed by the play of Tyler Dorsey and Jordan Bell.
Dorsey, a 42.3 percent three-point shooter on the year, is shooting an NBA Jam-esque 65.4 percent from deep in four tournament games, averaging 24.5 points per contest. His effective field-goal percentage over that span is a ludicrous 83.3 percent. Bell, meanwhile, has controlled the interior, tallying 12.5 points, 12.5 rebounds (6.0 offensive) and 2.8 blocks during March Madness.
In this matchup, though, Carolina has the personnel to combat what has been two of the best players this tournament.
When it comes to Dorsey, Roy Williams will likely throw Theo Pinson at him. The long, athletic wing spent most of last weekend’s game against Kentucky guarding impossibly quick point guard De’Aaron Fox, limiting the future lottery pick to 13 points on 3-of-10 shooting and four turnovers.
As for Bell, he’s likely to get his blocks, but keeping him away from the offensive glass will be crucial. The Tar Heels rank 22nd in the country in defensive rebounding percentage and rotate four terrific rebounds–Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Tony Bradley, Luke Maye–throughout the game, so they should fair well in that regard.
Oregon’s three-point shooting stands a potential equalizer, but the Tar Heels’ ability to take away two of Oregon’s most important weapons, along with the experience gap in the head-coaching department, gives them the edge.
Prediction: North Carolina 75, Oregon 71
In our newest 2017 NBA mock draft, there are three Top-6 picks and six first-rounders projected to be playing in this weekend’s Elite 8.
With the best high-school players on display at the McDonald’s All-American Game, there’s no better time to take a look at the 2018 NBA draft.