We’re under two hours away from tonight’s tip-off in the NCAA championship, so let’s preview the game by answering many Frequently Asked Questions surrounding the game.
Q: Is Gonzaga really in the national championship?
A: Gonzaga is really in the national championship. After a lifetime of failed NCAA tournament runs under Mark Few, the Zags finally broke through and reached this year’s Final Four, proving all Gonzaga doubters (read: everyone) wrong.
Q: So Gonzaga finally proved itself by beating other title contenders?
A: Well, not exactly. Gonzaga had the easiest run in tournament history, topped off with a narrow semifinal win over seventh-seeded South Carolina. No. 11 Xavier was the opposition in the Elite Eight game and did all the work in eliminating No. 2 Arizona in the Sweet 16.
Q: How’d North Carolina get there?
North Carolina got there because of the officiating.
Q: Speaking of cheating, don’t you think it’s a little messed up that UNC is in the title game when the NCAA still hasn’t punished them for cheating?
A: It is very messed up. UNC’s men’s basketball program is at the heart of the university’s academic scandal that may never get resolved. The NCAA’s ongoing probe into the blatant cheating and fake classes in Chapel Hill should strip the school of its 2009 banner, yet here we are, on the heels of the Heels possibly adding another one to the rafters.
Q: Remember that paper the UNC athlete wrote about Rosa Parks? That was funny.
A: It was the final essay for AFAM 41 and the player received an A- for the entire class.
Here it is:
Q: That’s only 146 words LOL.
Q: Who is going to win tonight?
A: If I knew, I’d be in Las Vegas right now. Most everyone thinks we are in for a close game that could go either way.
North Carolina is currently a 1.5-point favorite.
Q: Who’s the best player on each team?
A: Gonzaga is led by Nigel Williams-Goss, a consensus All-American guard with averages of 16.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. However, freshman center Zach Collins has emerged as a star and a potential one-and-done player. The seven-footer had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the semifinal win.
For North Carolina, forward Justin Jackson is the team’s consensus All-American and its best playmaker. He is averaging over 20 points per game in the tournament.
Q: What about that guy with the beard? Is he good?
A: You’re talking about Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski, and yes, he is good. He and Collins make a great duo inside for the Zags.
Q: How’s Joel Berry’s ankle doing?
A: Berry is dealing with two sprained ankles but he will play tonight.
He admitted there is lingering pain from the injuries, adding, “At this point, I can’t think about it. I just have to continue to play.”
Q: How is Kennedy Meeks still at North Carolina? Dude’s like 30.
A: While it does seem he has been there since the Dean Smith years, Meeks is a legitimate fourth-year senior playing in his last game for UNC.
Q: Wasn’t North Carolina in the championship last year?
A: Correct. UNC is making its second consecutive title appearance after losing last year’s game to Villanova on a buzzer-beating three-pointer. It’s consider one of the best college basketball games ever.
Q: Has Gonzaga ever played in the championship?
A: No. This is Gonzaga’s first and the first for the West Coast Conference since 1956.
Gonzaga had never been to a Final Four before this week.
Q: What does it mean for Mark Few?
A: Few looks to join the elusive 38-win club while grabbing his first national championship trophy, which will likely punch his ticket to the Naismith Hall of Fame.
Q: What about Roy Williams?
A: For Williams, he could join the three-title club, along with John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski, Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight and Jim Calhoun. That is pretty good company.
Q: Well who should I root for?
A: Because North Carolina cheats.
Q: Was that Rosa Parks essay real?
A: Unfortunately, yes.
Q: Well Go Zags then.
A: Go Zags indeed.