For all of the craziness, the upsets, and the bracket busting, there’s going to be two of the top seeds in the NCAA championship.
Six days after Luke Maye drilled the game winning jumper, Kennedy Meeks rose up and led the Tar Heels to a much-needed second chance at a championship. Meeks led the team with 25 points on 11/13 shooting to go along with 14 huge rebounds. Tyler Dorsey, who was incredible all tournament, led the Ducks in scoring again with 21 points, but he only shot 3/11 from the field. It wasn’t Meeks’ scoring that was as important as his rebounding. He gobbled up 8 offensive boards, but he saved the most important for last. With 4 seconds left, Joel Berry missed the second of two free throws. Oregon, looking to get the rebound and get the game winning bucket, could not secure the rebound as Meeks out-muscled Jordan Bell underneath to snatch the rebound. He threw it outside to Theo Pinson, who ran out the clock and sent North Carolina to the championship against Gonzaga.
Justin Jackson also played a great game for the Tar Heels, scoring 22 points on 6/13 shooting. However, outside of Meeks and Jackson, the rest of the team shot 8/42, which nearly cost them the game. However, given that Oregon also only shot 37 percent from the field, North Carolina was able to stay in the game. Both teams played sloppy basketball, and the ending was the culmination of an ugly game. First, Keith Smith made a layup with 7 seconds left to make it a one point game. Then, Meeks got fouled, but missed both free throws. Pinson was able to get a hand on the ball and tap it to Berry, who was fouled with 4 seconds to play. However, Berry missed both of his free throws. Meeks got the rebound, and the rest is history.
The Ducks had a great run, but couldn’t find their shooting when it mattered most. Jordan Bell, who was a block machine for the Ducks, played admirably all March after star big man Chris Boucher went down with a torn ACL. He put up 13 points and 16 rebounds for Oregon. Dillon Brooks, their leader, only shot 2/11 and had 10 points, while his counterpart for the Tar Heels, Joel Berry, also struggled, as he shot 2/14 and scored 11.
Oregon- The offseason, where they hope to return to the tournament behind Bell, Dorsey, and Brooks.
North Carolina- Advances to the championship, where they will take on Mark Few and Gonzaga in what should be a great game.