|Monday, April 3|
Team Stats Comparison
Four Factors Comparison
PiRate Ratings Criteria Breakdown
Power Conference: Advantage–North Carolina
North Carolina is a member of the ACC, while Gonzaga is a member of the WCC. The Tar Heels’ conference affiliation gives them an 8-point advantage over Gonzaga.
Strength of Schedule: Advantage–North Carolina
North Carolina’s schedule has been 10.3 points better than average through 39 games. Gonzaga’s schedule has been 4.4 points better than average through 38 games. This gives the Tar Heels the advantage by 6 points.
R+T Rating*: Advantage–North Carolina
North Carolina’s R+T of 30.2 is the best by far in all of Division 1 College Basketball, and it came shining through in their semifinal win over Oregon, where the Tar Heels forced a lot of early turnovers on the Ducks, and they cleaned the glass, especially when the game was on the line.
Gonzaga’s R+T of 19.4 earns an A+ grade, but when facing a team with an A+++ grade, the extra scoring opportunities the Bulldogs normally receive through rebounding prowess, turnover avoidance, and the ability to steal the ball and avoid having it stolen disappears. The Tar Heels should receive the opportunity to score about 11 more points than Gonzaga through hustle stats.
Field Goal % Margin: Advantage Gonzaga
Gonzaga’s FG% margin of 14.3% is at the top of the charts. It is why the Bulldogs have made it to this game. North Carolina’s margin of 5.4% is just average for an NCAA Tournament team and below average for a Final Four team. This is the stat that gives the Zags a fighting chance.
Expected Possessions Per Team: 72
North Carolina will do everything it can to speed up the pace of this game. Even though Gonzaga’s pace is considerably above average, the Bulldogs can ill afford to get into a race horse pace in this game. For every possession above 70 in this game, the Tar Heels will receive more and more benefit.
Gonzaga has a chance to win this game, but the Bulldogs will have to keep the ball out of the paint when North Carolina has the ball. Having two quality post players gives the Zags a chance to do just that, but Carolina could get both Karnowski and Collins in foul trouble, and that would spell doom for the challenger.
If Jackson and Berry can knock down three-pointers at a rate above 37.5% (3 out of every 8), it will force Gonzaga to stretch their man-to-man defense just enough to open the inside for Meeks, Hicks, and Bradley, and Gonzaga’s inside defense may be strong, but it is not quick enough to handle the Tar Heel inside game.
North Carolina came within a second of winning the title last year. Our PiRates here believe that Roy Williams will be cutting down the nets for his third time, passing his mentor in bringing title banners to Chapel Hill.
PiRate Prediction: North Carolina 89 Gonzaga 81
Note: This ends our sports coverage for Spring. The PiRates will return to our ship and head out to sea once again, and we will return to land in August in time to begin previewing the 2017-18 college and NFL football seasons.
In our absence, some of our merry lasses may decide to post a story or two dealing with whatever floats their boats.
Enjoy a wonderful Spring and Summer, and we will be back for the football season.