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2016 Tourney: Carolina favorite at Final Four

Dave2015You can make a case for each team in Houston.  No one is playing better than Villanova.  Buddy Hield has it going on with Oklahoma. Marcus Paige appears to have found his shooting stroke for North Carolina. Syracuse just keeps finding ways to win and sometimes good fortune is a part of the deal.

So who’s your choice?  Before the tournament started, I picked Oklahoma and Carolina to reach the Final Four.  Of course, I also picked the Sooners and Tar Heels to lose to Kansas and Michigan State in the National Semifinals.  So take the following as a proverbial grain of salt.

Villanova – Oklahoma: It would be easy to look back at Oklahoma’s 78-55 victory over Nova in Hawaii and award the Sooners a quick trip to Monday’s title game.  Then again, that game was played almost four months ago.  It was also a game in which Oklahoma made 14 three-pointers while shooting 53-percent (14-26) beyond the arc. On the flip side, Villanova made just four treys, shooting a dismal 4-32 (12.5%) from distance.  It’s doubtful that type of disparity will repeat itself in Houston.  Pick: Oklahoma in a close one.

North Carolina – Syracuse: The Tar Heels will be favored to cut down the nets on Monday night; which obviously makes them the favorite here.  As a conference opponent, the Orange’s zone is nothing new. Plus, Carolina has superior depth and the power to pound Syracuse on the glass.  UNC collected 19 offensive rebounds during a 75-70 victory in Chapel Hill on February 29.  Yet, a bigger factor could be Marcus Paige.  In his team’s two previous wins over Syracuse, Paige combined for nine points (a stat line of 3 points in one game and 6 in the other). Paige appears to have found his shooting touch again; which could be a game-changer.  Pick: North Carolina.

Enjoy the games.  More on Monday.

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