In a basketball world where elite guard play and sniping are both valued and prioritized, the outcome of this national championship game can be decided by the strong, physical players who make the most impact around the rim.
Armando Bacot of North CarolinaA 6-foot-10 center has had more double-doubles in 2021-22 than anyone in the Atlantic Coast Conference has ever recorded in a single season. And 6 feet 10 Kansas forward David McCormack injured his foot to take his team to the championship game.
Both teams are filled with players who have taken over certain games to help their teams move forward: Tar Heels’ Caleb Love scored 30 points against UCLA in the round of 16 and slammed Duke with a 3-point dagger in the semi-finals, and Ochai Agbaji won the Kansas team’s championship game. He landed an almost perfect shot against Villanova to help him reach it.
But the vile battle between Bacot and McCormack could be the focus of the game.
Bacot, who suffered an ankle injury against Duke, is averaging 16 points and 16.3 rebounds in the tournament. And McCormack had a career night against Villanova, scoring 25 points on 12 on 10.
Both players are part A crop of grown-ups dominating the college game this season – including Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky, winner of the Naismith Trophy for national player of the year; Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn; and Gonzaga’s Drew Timme – as the NBA moves away from old-school centers and predominantly low-ranking players.
“Two incredible post players who can rebound basketball can score consistently low in paint. “It’s as important to us as it is to Kansas,” said North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis. “And ultimately, the deciding factor for who will win the championship may be the winner of this matchup.”