By: Kevin Lindgren
March Madness is upon us. With the Sweet 16 upon us, it’s time to start narrowing in on the potential champion. This year, I believe the Oklahoma Sooners will win the NCAA Tournament.
Why is Oklahoma going to win?
Two words: Buddy Hield.
During playoff time, teams need an elite scorer who can ignite an offense and explode for 30+ points. In his two games so far, Hield has posted 26 points and 36 points in the second and third round, respectively.
Channing will tell you that North Carolina’s talent and coaching will lead them to a title. However, he is neglecting valuable information about the Tar Heels. UNC lacks an elite scorer. Therefore, scoring points against an underrated Indiana team could be quite difficult. In a tournament dominated by upsets, UNC could be the next team to fall victim.
Oklahoma could experience a similar type of run the UCONN Huskies experienced in 2011. Led by All-American guard Kemba Walker, the Huskies fought through every team on their way to the National Championship.
Hield will step up, much like Walker did in the 2011 tournament, and deliver a championship to Oklahoma. With a starting lineup of four upperclassmen, the Sooners’ experience will play large during the rest of the tournament.
By: Channing Whittaker
The University of North Carolina’s 2016 men’s basketball team had a strong showing to close out the regular season by not only winning the regular season ACC title, but also winning the ACC Tournament. Their play has carried over to the NCAA Tournament as this team is peaking at the perfect time to make a run at the 2016 national title.
The main reason why North Carolina will win it all is because of the experience in their lineup considering they have the most veteran starters in the entire NCAA Tournament.
Senior guard Marcus Paige has started in every game that he has been healthy since he was a freshman, while junior forward Kennedy Meeks has been a starter since midway through his freshman season. In addition, senior forward Brice Johnson and sophomore guard/forward Justin Jackson both have two seasons as full-time starters.
In total, the Tar Heels have over 500 games worth of experience combined among their starting five. In addition, a deep bench provides the opportunity for starting players to get a much needed breather at key points in the game.
Experience should pay off in the NCAA Tournament because there is nothing an opposing team can throw at them that they haven’t seen at some point in the past.
Don’t be surprised when North Carolina is cutting down the nets at the Final Four in Houston this year.