The Greatest National Championship of All Time


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By Daniel Pironne, RT News Editor

Could this year’s National Championship live up to its hype after two boring and dull Final Four match-ups just two days before? On April 2, at the NRG Stadium in Huston, Texas, The second-ranked Villanova Wildcats from the South region of the bracket went head-to-head with the second-ranked Oklahoma Sooners from the West region of the bracket. After a monstrous victory by 44 points over the Sooners, the Wildcat coaches, players and fans waited eagerly to see who they would take on in the 2016 National Championship game.

That later and much-anticipated game was between the first-seed North Carolina Tar Heels from the East region of the bracket and the 10th-seed Syracuse Orange from the Midwest region of the bracket. After a 17-point victory, North Carolina advanced to play Villanova on April 4 for the title of the best men’s college basketball team of 2016.

Much anticipation was built up for this game due to both teams having so many explosive players with tremendous basketball fundamentals.

That’s how the bracket plays out every year. The teams with the lacking fundamentals of basketball fall like flies.

This year’s National Championship game will be remembered as one of the most thrilling and electrifying match-ups between two high-caliber and very talented basketball teams.

North Carolina controlled the first half. Villanova decided to put heavy pressure inside the paint, forcing the Tar Heels to shoot from the perimeter. North Carolina let it fly. Point guard Joel Berry and guard Marcus Paige led that charge, shooting with confidence throughout the first half.

At the end of the first half, North Carolina led Villanova, 39-35.

Although the Tar Heels were only up four going into the break, they were in complete control and their shooters were red hot from beyond the arch. I was hoping North Carolina was going to come out full throttle from the moment the second half started. I was wrong.

Villanova completely dominated North Carolina with amazing press defense and even better ball movement on the offensive side of the court. The Wildcats got up by as much as 10 in the second half before North Carolina strapped in last moments of the game.

Time was ticking away; the Tar Heels were slowly bringing the game to a tie and only had seconds left, down 74-71. Berry dribbled the ball up, 12 seconds left on the clock, as he saw Paige wanting the ball for the game-tying three. Berry’s pass was tipped but somehow got to the hands of Paige and with four seconds left, he launched a three. The ball rattled in and this exhilarating game was about to go into overtime.

Villanova inbounded the ball to their senior point guard, Ryan Arcidiacono. He rushed up the court and passed the ball to junior forward Kris Jenkins, who got a last-second shot off.

Game over. Villanova had hit a buzzer-beater to win the game.

Both teams played a magnificent game. Both teams were above 50 percent shooting from the three-point line. Both teams played amazing offense and amazing defense. Both teams deserved to play on the biggest stage of men’s college basketball. Either one of those teams deserved to win that game.

Without a doubt, if this game would have gone into overtime, the outcome would have been different, but either way, this was the greatest men’s college basketball National Championship game of all time.