Updated: Apr 8, 2022
With the National Title less than two hours away, many around town are holding their breath for what should be a fantastic showdown between two blue blood, Roy Williams coached teams. Basically what I'm saying is Roy Williams is the only person who has direct affiliation to one school or the other (in this case both) that isn't too nervous to think right about now. Let's lay out some keys to the game that will either ease the stress, or increase it depending on who you are.
Big men play
Brady Manek will be a problem for the Jayhawks if he gets hot, and at 6'10" with a great shooting range, KU will have a hard time matching up. The question is can Jalen Wilson survive and thrive? My answer is yes, if Wilson can have a better game than he did against Villanova. Get up, grab the rebounds, and hassle Manek so he has no room to breathe, and the Jayhawks take a key piece out of the Tar Heel lineup. Top that off with an injury to Armando Bacot making him questionable, and that may be one less big man to worry about on the Kansas side, letting Dave do his thing inside. This is probably the biggest key, as most of the Tar Heel offense generates from gritty play from these two bigs, and through Manek getting hot from the perimeter, which in my opinion is KU's biggest threat tonight.
2. No Overthinking
Ochai was basically perfect from the perimeter in the game against Villanova, scoring 6 of 7 threes and looking like the national player of the year finalist he is. Over the past couple games however we've seen Ochai overthink his shots a little bit, same going for guys like Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson. If guys can recognize when they have the open look, and not try to do too much (Take a page out of the book of Remy Martin) KU could open up scoring and take command of what is a hot Carolina offense. Control the tempo and do your job, that's all there is to it.
3. Feed the Inside
With Bacot injured on Carolina's side KU has to focus on exploiting that inside. If Bacot is gonna be in (This may be a bit mean) KU and David McCormack will have to make that man work, and if he's not in then that frees up some opportunities for McCormack to take control of the paint like he did on Saturday. Top that off with good drives, backdoor cuts, and tiring Manek out, and overall just having a physical game dominated by Jayhawks and KU wins the ship.
This will be a tough game for the Jayhawks, however UNC more or less won their Super Bowl by ending Coach K's career. Be that as it may I don't think UNC will necessarily take this game lightly, but there is a mindset difference. I believe KU has more of a chip on their shoulder, and that will matter in terms of tempo control and physicality. I'm picking KU by 4 in what will be a close, hotly contested matchup for Roy Williams's favor. Just load the wagon...
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