The Runner Sports

Final Four Showdown: Oregon vs UNC Preview

Only four teams stand after an intense all out battle for placement in the Final Four. The North Carolina Tar Heels led by head coach Roy Williams, return to the Final Four after last year’s championship defeat at the hands of Villanova. With upsets on Villanova’s side of the bracket, Nova could not return as Gonzaga and South Carolina earned the slots. Facing UNC will be Oregon, the Ducks’ last Final Four was in 1939 when the won the title.

The Tar Heels are in good hands when it comes to Roy Williams. The esteemed coach has 27 NCAA Tournament appearances, 9 Final Fours, and won championships in 2005 and 2009. Justin Jackson at 18.1 points per game is an effortless scorer. A constant threat from deep with what many would consider to be the best floater in the game. Expect Luke Maye to come to come in fired up after his clutch shot in the Elite 8. Kennedy Meeks is a bruiser, averaging 12.6 points and 9.1 rebounds a game. Meeks leads the Tar Heels in rebounding; as a team the Heels are extremely solid as well on the glass. Joel Berry II averages 14.8 points and is there second leading assist man at 3.7 per game just behind Pinson’s 4.1.

For Oregon, on the other hand, this is a new culture, even with being in the last 5 NCAA Tournaments. Jordan Bell as been phenomenal this tournament defensively. Bell is averaging 3 blocks a game in just over thirty minutes, all while committing only three fouls this entire tournament. Dillon Brooks is still the go-to man offensively, Brooks had 17 in their Elite 8 win while Tyler Dorsey had 27. Brooks was named an AP All-American earlier this week. Tyler Dorsey is another big time player at 13.3 points a game but can explode as he has showed during this tournament.

UNC is slightly favored in this matchup, for them to win they must first control the glass. Meeks needs to stay out of foul trouble, giving the Heels a consistent presence down low. Justin Jackson must find quality shots, if Jackson can get off to a hot start early, Oregon would have major problems containing him. UNC needs to play fast, but under control, that is where Oregon gets easy baskets is off of mistakes early in transition.

For Oregon to win they must absolutely lock down the paint defensively and funnel everything to Jordan Bell. Justin Jackson is a huge concern because he can eliminate Bell’s shot blocking ability with his floater. Dillon Brooks must be assertive all the while looking to dish to teammates as he did in their win over Kansas. Even though UNC likes to run at times as well, Oregon must stay to form and continue getting out in transition, this will be the easiest way to keep up with UNC.

This matchup is spectacular featuring the storied UNC, who is surely remembering last year’s Final Four and the running and gunning Ducks who haven’t been here in decades. This game is full of explosive offense, next level talent, and is on one of the biggest stages in sports. Either one of these teams could win the title, one will get the opportunity. Only question left is who will it be?

  • Srijan Mugada

    The tireless oregon players, played a great game although they lost by a point.