The men’s basketball national championship was a slugfest. The bigs on both teams scratched and clawed for each possession, and both teams have guards who go “downhill” according to Gonzaga coach Mark Few. When it was all said and done, the Tar Heels beat the Zags 71-65 to win the national championship and continue UNC’s “redemption tour” after losing to Villanova last year. There are plenty of telling, and misleading, national championship stats.
Here is the national championship by the numbers:
North Carolina outscored Gonzaga 40-18 in the paint. The Tar Heels were able to limit Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski to one field goal and slow down fellow big Zach Collins to nine points as well. Meanwhile, Isaiah Hicks, Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks for 35 points.
The Tar Heels were so reliant on the paint play because they were, well, pretty bad from beyond the arc on Monday. North Carolina ended the game going 4/27 from three-pointers, which comes out to 14.8%. All four came from Joel Berry II, who went 4/13 from beyond the arc. By contrast, Gonzaga shot 8/19 on three-pointers.
These were the second half shooting percentages for the Zags and the Tar Heels respectively. North Carolina was able to shut the door on Gonzaga and outscore them 39-30 in the second half. The Tar Heels made the adjustment at halftime after Gonzaga shot at a 40% rate from the field in the first half.
There were 44 personal fouls between the two schools. While Zach Collins was the only player to foul out, but Johnathan Williams, Przemek Karnowski, Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks all had four fouls each. The fouls certainly affected the flow of the second half, and there were a combined 52 free throw attempts in the game.
The attendance for the national championship came out to 76,168 at University of Phoenix Stadium. On Saturday, the crowd was the second largest in tournament history during the North Carolina-Oregon game, with 77,612 in attendance.