The big night of college basketball, the 2016 NCAA Tournament Final Four, is almost here. It begins with two number two seeds, Villanova and Oklahoma, facing off in a battle between relentless, havoc creating defense and the NCAA-best shooting of Buddy Hield. Later comes the ACC clash of the surprising Syracuse against the favorites to win it all and preseason number one team, North Carolina.
#2 Villanova vs #2 Oklahoma: Forget about what happened earlier in the season when the Sooners had no problem dispatching the Wildcats. In a huge dome, the Oklahoma shooting, including that of Buddy Hield, could be seriously impaired and their sight lines and the overall grandeur of the event could take some time to get used to. Dominating the paint early for both teams should be the key, but even more important for Villanova, who rely heavily on what Daniel Ochefu gives them. Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin will be those trying to stop him, while Hield will probably need a good start from Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard to get the Wildcats defense focused on everyone else instead of just him. Villanova’s defense managed to take Kansas out of their rhythm, so why not Oklahoma too?
#10 Syracuse vs #1 North Carolina: The Tar Heels have won all of their games in the tournament by double digits. They’ve beaten Syracuse twice this season already. They know if the 2-3 zone doesn’t work, Syracuse will pull out the Full Court Press. But North Carolina dominating the offensive boards with Brice Johnson, Isaiah Hicks, Justin Jackson and others could be something Syracuse will struggle handling (terrible rebounding team) if they don’t hit their shots early. A team that takes more than 42% of their shots from the perimeter, getting hot early against a bigger, better team is a key. Syracuse pulled off something of a miracle against Virginia. It’ll be even more difficult against the size and quickness of the Tar Heels.