Monday, April 03, 2017

North Carolina: 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Champions



GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's OK, Carolina, you can open your eyes.

An unwatchable game turned into a beautiful night for the Tar Heels, who turned a free-throw contest into a championship they've been waiting an entire year to celebrate.

Justin Jackson delivered the go-ahead 3-point play with 1:40 left Monday and North Carolina pulled away for a 71-65 win over Gonzaga that washed away a year's worth of heartache.

It was, in North Carolina's words, a redemption tour -- filled with extra time on the practice court and the weight room, all fueled by a devastating loss in last year's title game on Kris Jenkins' 3-point dagger at the buzzer for Villanova.

"I wanted to see this confetti fall on us and we're the winners," said Carolina's Joel Berry II, who led the Heels with 22 points. "We came out here and we competed. It came down to the last second, but we're national champs now."

Berry, along with most of Roy Williams' players, returned for another run. To say everything went right for them at this Final Four would not be the truth.

The Tar Heels (33-7) followed a terrible shooting night in the semifinal with an equally ice-cold performance in the final -- going 4 for 27 from 3-point land and 26 for 73 overall.

Gonzaga, helped by 8 straight points from Nigel Williams-Goss, took a 2-point lead with 1:52 left, but the next possession was the game-changer.

Jackson took a zinger of a pass under the basket from Theo Pinson and converted the shot, then the ensuing free throw to take the lead for good. Moments later, Williams-Goss twisted his right ankle and could not elevate for a jumper that would've given the Bulldogs the lead.

Isaiah Hicks made a basket to push the lead to 3, then Kennedy Meeks, in foul trouble all night, blocked Williams-Goss' shot and Jackson got a slam on the other end to put some icing on title No. 6 for the Tar Heels. Williams got his third title, putting him one ahead of his mentor, Dean Smith, and now behind only John Wooden, Adolph Rupp and Mike Krzyzewski.

"I think of Coach Smith, there's no question," Williams said. "I don't think I should be mentioned in the same sentence with him. But we got three because I've got these guys with me and that's all I care about right now -- my guys."

Berry recovered from ankle injuries to lead the Tar Heels, but needed 19 shots for his 22 points. Jackson had 16 on a 6-for-19 night and, overall, the Tar Heels actually shot a percentage point worse than they did in Saturday night's win over Oregon.


Thank goodness for free throws. They went 15 for 26 from the line and, in many corners, this game will be remembered for these three men: Michael Stephens, Verne Harris and Mike Eades, the referees who called 27 fouls in the second half, completely busted up the flow of the game and sent Meeks, Gonzaga's 7-footers Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins and a host of others to the bench in foul trouble.

The most bizarre sequence: With 8:02 left, Berry got called for a foul for (maybe) making contact with Karnowski and stripping the ball from the big man's hands. But as Karnowski was flailing after the ball, he grabbed Berry around the neck and, after a long delay, got called for a flagrant foul of his own.

That resulted in four straight free throws, a 52-all tie and booing from every corner of the massive Phoenix University Stadium.

BoBA ISML 2017 Predictions: Aquamarine Match Day 1

ARENA 01: Atsuko Kagari [[Shiina Mashiro]]
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 02: [[Yoshino]] Kuriyama Mirai
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 03: Yazawa Nico [[Kirisaki Chitoge]]
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 04: Matō Sakura [[Yukinoshita Yukino]]
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 05: [[Miyamizu Mitsuha]] Ayase Eli
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 06: Mumei [[Ōmae Kumiko]]
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 07: Sonō Momoka Saber
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 08: [[Usami Mizuki]] Nakiri Erina
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 09: Rory Mercury [[Jibril]]
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 10: Hiiragi Kagami [[Tōsaka Rin]]
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 11: [[Sawamura Spencer Eriri]] Sanzen'in Nagi
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 12: [[Kōsaka Kirino]] Kuroyukihime
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 13: Gasai Yuno [[Makise Kurisu]]
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 14: [[Nishikino Maki]] Hoshino Yumemi
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 15: Shiba Miyuki [[Kirigiri Kyōko]]
By <=1500
Over/Under: 80000
Under

ARENA 16: Miyoshi [[Hikigaya Hachiman]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 17: [[Ayasaki Hayate]] Mikazuki Augus
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 18: Amagiri Ayato [[Kamina]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 19: Yang Wenli [[Otonashi Yuzuru]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 20: [[Orihara Izaya]] Miketsukami Sōshi
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 21: Adlet Mayer [[Otosaka Yū]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 22: Nagai Kei [[Archer]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 23: [[Gilgamesh]] [[Iskandar]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 24: Edogawa Conan [[Bell Cranel]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 25: Akatsuki Kojō [[Araragi Koyomi]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 26: Totsuka Saika [[Kurogane Ikki]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 27: [[Ainz Ooal Gown]] Hinata Shōyō
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 28: Haruhiro [[Emiya Kiritsugu]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 29: Komaeda Nagito [[Natsume Kyōsuke]]
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 30: [[Nozaki Umetarō]] Kaizaki Arata
By >=700
Over/Under: 70000
Under

ARENA 31: Katsura Hinagiku [[Shana]]
By >=1500
Over/Under: 60000
Over

ARENA 32: [[Accelerator]] Kinoshita Hideyoshi
By >=1500
Over/Under: 50000
Over