North Carolina advances to NCAA championship

North Carolina advances to NCAA championship

Theo Pinson #1 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.

Forward Johnathan Williams provides excellent option for defending North Carolina's best player, wing Justin Jackson.

Gonzaga is the first men's basketball team to make it to the NCAA Final Four from Washington state since Seattle University went in 1958.

North Carolina point guard Joel Berry II had declared his injured ankles 85 percent healthy before the Final Four.

Gonzaga center Zach Collins was the first casualty of the foul-fest in the NCAA championship game. In the end North Carolina's shooting ability, and overall talent will be too much for Gonzaga to handle, allowing it to pull away in the game's final minutes.

GLENDALE, AZ (RNN) - The North Carolina Tar Heels have won their sixth national championship with a 71-65 victory over the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the 2017 NCAA basketball championship game. He averages 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

They also rank in the top 15 in total rebounding percentage, with North Carolina leading the nation. The Bulldogs/Tar Heels game is being livestreamed across a variety of platforms: NCAA.com, the NCAA March Madness Live app, and over at CBS All Access.

North Carolina's frontcourt is built around players who can crash the offensive boards.

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If North Carolina shoots the ball almost as poorly as it did in its national semifinal game against OR, the Bulldogs will cruise to a championship. After last season's heartbreaking loss to Villanova, the Tar Heels' core players are back and hungrier than ever. They are - and have been for some time - the best team in the country, according to KenPom's efficiency ratings.

For a whole year, the Tar Heels thought about what might have been. The mid-major that has finally made it to the Final Four.

"The biggest challenge is their transition defense", Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.

If that had been the criteria at the start of the tournament, the victor would have been Princeton University, where low-income students pay $3,630 per year, on average - a 94 percent discount from their education's total cost. After Oregon's Keith Smith trimmed UNC's lead down to just one point, the team had four chances to get farther ahead of Oregon.

This year's championship showcase featured a welter of fouls and missed shots by both teams.

Ranked No. 1 in KenPom since mid-January, the Zags have been the best team in college basketball this year.

Both had to dispatch tough opponents on the way to the finals. In that Final Four matchup with OR, senior forward Kennedy Meeks stepped up, scoring 25 points on 11-13 shooting to go with 14 rebounds. Johnathan Williams is a versatile four-man with plenty of athleticism, while McDonald's All-American Zach Collins - another seven-footer - was dominant off the bench in the Final Four win over SC, posting a stat line of 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks.