Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono
Keys to each team winning the National Championship
Tomorrow night in Houston, a winner will be crowned and it is a bittersweet moment for me and most college basketball fans, because as much as we look forward to the championship game, it marks the end of the college basketball season. These are the key factors to look for in tomorrow nights game.
Joel Berry, UNC
The sophomore guard has really come on for the Tar Heels as a consistent guard to play along side Marcus Paige. However, Berry has only scored more than 10 points in one of their six losses. Also, despite the losses to Notre Dame (scored 10) and UVA (scored 21), the Tar Heels are yet to lose when he gets in double digits. When Berry produces they win.
Daniel Ochefu, Villanova
The headline for this game is that North Carolina gets a lot of offensive boards and Villanova gives them up, but the man capable of stopping that is Ochefu. Although he is only averaging seven and a half rebounds per game, his is a big body that is going to need to keep a beast in Brice Johnson off the boards in order for the Wildcats to cut down the nets.
Marcus Paige, UNC
In my March Madness preview about three weeks ago, I said that UNC was very dangerous if their guards produce, so far they’ve done just that, but on the biggest stage of his life, will Paige come through for the Tar Heels? Paige’s career at Carolina has often been regarded as a disappointment, but he will have the chance to silence the critics if he can lead the Heels to their first national championship since 2009.
Kris Jenkins, Villanova
Jenkins could prove to be a real matchup problem for the Tar Heels, although Justin Jackson will most likely be matched up with Jenkins for most the game. If Jenkins can get the Kennedy-Meeks matchup, it could be a huge game changer for Villanova. If Jenkins is matched up with Meeks, Nova can run a pick and pop with Arcidiacono and Jenkins–Jenkins’ 3 point shooting ability forces Meeks to guard him on the perimeter, where Jenkins has a huge speed advantage.
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
Arcidiacono is truly one of my favorite players to watch in college basketball over the years, his poise and floor general mentality is a great combo. What I like most about Arcidiacono is that he always plays his own game, even on the biggest stage, just because he’s not scoring doesn’t mean he is not doing big things for this Nova team. It’s almost a given that he will be involved, facilitating and scoring on the offensive end, but if he can fluster Marcus Paige early on the defensive end, it will be a big help to the Wildcats’ chances of winning it all. I’m truly upset that this will be my last time watching Arcidiacono play, but nothing would make me happier than to see this kid bring home a National Championship back to Nova.
I had a really hard time finalizing my prediction–Nova has the guards, but UNC has the bigs. In the end, I think that Nova will jump out to an early lead and play their game from there. I think UNC will cut in close in the final minutes, but Nova’s free throw shooting will seal the game away.
MOP: Ryan Arcidiacono
Photo via vuhoops.com