North Carolina finds themselves in a familiar situation with another visit to the Final Four. This year's Oregon squad however is making the school's first visit this deep in the tournament since 1939. Does familiarity breed success in this matchup or is Oregon too 'young and fresh' to even know their in such a big spotlight?
Early in the week the money was split 50/50 on the North Carolina -4.5 spread. Between both of the Final Four matchups it would seem like UNC is more likely for a blowout win, but the line is actually closer in this game than in the South Carolina/Gonzaga matchup. This just goes to show that the Ducks are a good team and this game really is up for grabs.
Oregon finds themselves in the second consecutive matchup with college basketball royalty. The last time out it didn't seem to bother them too much as evidenced by the 74-60 win over Kansas in the Elite 8. It was a welcomed blowout for the Oregon squad as they had to survive a tough Michigan squad in the Sweet 16 (69-68) and eeked out a surprisingly close win over Rhode Island (75-72) prior to that. Regardless of a few close tournament calls, it was a great season for Oregon as they posted a 33-5 record on the year.
UNC found themselves in a heavyweight title fight in their Elite 8 matchup, squeezing out a thrilling 75-73 win over UK. Prior to that they dismantled Butler 92-80 and had a businesslike 72-65 win over Arkansas. The 2016/17 Tar Heel squad is still steaming after the last second loss to Villanova in the NCAA championship a year ago and would love nothing more than a repeat trip for redemption.
Having been in this exact spot a year ago, the experience factor of this Final 4 matchup favors North Carolina. Obviously the Tar Heels have a roster full of high profile recruits but Oregon guard Tyler Dorsey might be the star of the tourney so far averaging nearly 25 PPG.
Just as in the other Final 4 game where South Carolina is supposedly renowned for their defense yet the 'over' has hit in 3 of 4 tourney matchups, the 'high profile' Oregon offense is actually 2-2 in totals this tourney. UNC has scored 90+ twice in this tourney yet their totals have also split.
Every gut instinct says to take the Tarheels in the battle of the blue bloods over the new bloods. The Ducks certainly proved they have the firepower to take down college basketball elite in the last round versus Kansas. If anything though, that game proved to Carolina that this Oregon team absolutely cannot be taken lightly. Too many things have to happen perfectly for Oregon to win, therefore North Carolina is the pick.