In a matchup between two schools with near opposite program histories, North Carolina and Oregon will battle it out in the Final Four on Saturday night.
The Heels, one of the most prestigious programs in all of college basketball, will be making their 20th Final Four appearance and first since last year. The Ducks, conversely, will making just their second Final Four appearance and first since 1939.
It’s an interesting contrast, but ultimately, none of of that matters when the ball is tipped. Both teams narrowly avoided disaster in the Round of 32, recovered, and ultimately scored major wins over blue-blood programs in the Elite 8.
No matter the history, both of these squads have proved they belong in Phoenix.
UNC vs. Oregon Viewing Info
Date: Saturday, April 1, 2017
Start Time: 8:49 p.m. ET (about 40 minutes after the conclusion of Gonzaga vs. South Carolina)
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: March Madness Live or CBS All Access
Spread: UNC (-5), per OddsShark.com
Moneyline: UNC (-210), Oregon (+175)
Oregon has been able to survive the loss of 6-foot-10 Chris Boucher largely thanks to Jordan Bell, who is averaging 12.5 points, 12.5 rebounds (6.0 offensive) and 2.8 blocks in four tournament games. In the Ducks’ win over Kansas, the athletic and energetic big man was a transcendent interior force on both ends, racking up seven offensive rebounds and eight blocks.
Now, Bell gets his toughest test yet.
The Tar Heels boast the deepest frontcourt in America. It starts with Kennedy Meeks, who changed the game with his 17 rebounds and four blocks against Kentucky, and Isaiah Hicks, but it continues off the bench with talented 6-foot-11 freshman Tony Bradley and 6-foot-8 sophomore Luke Maye, the hero from the Elite 8 who is playing his best basketball of the season at the right moment.
There are other important matchups all over the court. Justin Jackson vs. Dillon Brooks, a matchup of future NBA players, and Theo Pinson’s defense against Tyler Dorsey’s red-hot offense both come to mind.
But Bell against Carolina’s mammoth frontcourt is going to go a long way in deciding this matchup.
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.