3 Keys to Victory for UNC vs. Kansas

UNC is bidding to become the second 8-seed to ever win the national championship, and those three things will be key to a win against Kansas.

It’s incredible to imagine that UNC was a bubble team in serious danger of missing the NCAA tournament after losing at home to Pittsburgh on February 16th. The Tar Heels caught fire over the ensuing six weeks, and a ridiculous NCAA tournament run included a dramatic Final Four victory to end Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke career and secure a spot in national championship play.

Hubert Davis’ team is now poised to join the 1985 Villanova Wildcats as the second 8-seed to ever win the NCAA tournament. 40 minutes against the only 1-seeded left, the Kansas Jayhawks is all that separates Davis from a piece of personal history as he would become the first coach to win a national championship in his first full season on the job.

What must UNC do to topple the Jayhawks and secure their place in history? These three factors could determine whether they cut the nets tomorrow night.

3 Keys to UNC Winning Over Kansas in the National Championship Game

3. Make at least 10 3-point shots

Kansas is a disciplined team that can carve out any game they want by slowing the pace at will. This formula has worked extremely well in almost every NCAA tournament game, with the exception of a 78-72 win over Creighton in the round of 32 that kept the Jayhawks sweating to the end.

The Bluejays threw down 12 threes in that game and almost found a way to topple Kansas without the services of Ryan Nembhard or Ryan Kalkbrenner, their top two players, who were out with season-ending injuries. Brady Manek and Caleb Love have been catching fire from the deep throughout March Madness, and a night of at least 10 North Carolina threes greatly increases their chances of winning the game.

2. Don’t let Ochai Agbaji beat you

The best player on the floor in this game is Ochai Agbaji, Kansas’ nominee for National Player of the Year, who can take over a game at will. The NCAA tournament was quite a struggle for Agbaji, who was cold off the floor before catching fire with six 3-pointers as part of a 21-point performance against Villanova in the Final Four.

Love, RJ Davis and Leaky Black will all presumably try to guard Agbaji, who is most likely Jayhawk, who will ruin the game if North Carolina allows him to cook. Frustrating Agbaji and taking him out of the game will make it a lot easier for UNC to overwhelm a Kansas team that doesn’t have a ton of real firepower without him.

1. Rule the interior

This article primarily pertains to Armando Bacot, who has a clear talent lead over David McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot in paint. Bacot had an injury scare after injuring his right ankle late in the Final Four against Duke, but Davis confirmed today Bacot is expected to line up for the Tar Heels on Monday night.

Bacot has absolutely dominated the glass in the NCAA tournament, hitting a double-double in every game and hitting at least 15 rebounds in four of them, including 21 and 22 rebound attempts in UNC’s last two wins. These boards either make for easy putbacks for Bacot on offense or can help trigger the quick break on defense, meaning a big night from him is essential if the Tar Heels are looking to pull off another upset to snag a national Winning that title was deemed impossible after that home loss to the Panthers.

For more NCAA basketball news, analysis, opinion and features, visit the FanSided College Basketball section to keep up with the latest promotions. 3 Keys to Victory for UNC vs. Kansas

John Verrall

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