Where: The Final Four, Ford Field, Detroit Michigan
When: Saturday, April 4th, approx. 8:47 PM
Livestats: SCACC Hoops
Records: UNC 32-4, Villanova 30-7
NCAA Results: UNC def. Radford, LSU, Gonzaga, Oklahoma; Villanova def. American, UCLA, Duke, Pitt
What does 2009 Villanova and 2005 Michigan St. have in common? They both beat Duke in the Sweet Sixteen.
We can only hope this game ends up the same way the one in 2005 did.
The matchup is simple. Villanova has great guard play and basically one big man in 6-8 Dante Cunningham. In that respect the Wildcats are similar to Duke but slightly better. Cunningham is athletic enough to bother Tyler Hansbrough and the Nova guards led by Scottie Reynolds are capable of giving UNC some trouble. The Heels need to show up and play defense like they did versus Oklahoma. They also need to shoot the ball well.
UNC Final Four losses are generally marked with poor shooting. That being said, there is every reason to be confident that will not be the case in this game. Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington come in shooting as well as one could possibly hope for. Danny Green started to heat up against Oklahoma. I fully expect the Heels' offense will show up in this one mainly because as much as Cunningham will give Hansbrough some difficulty, the Heels have multiple inside threats and depth. In short the inside game will open up the outside shooters who will ultimately do the job.
The Heels are in Detroit to take care of business. Ty Lawson called Detroit "a working city" which he said was good because the Heels "came to work." Task #1? Dispatch Villanova and advance to Monday night. Along these lines I believe UNC has an advantage in experience but also in being ready to play in this game. Of the two teams, Villanova is the one that must acclimate to being in the Final Four. That is bound to have an impact, one that will give the Heels an edge.
UNC 83 Villanova 69