Everything You Need to Know About the 2016 NCAA Basketball Championship Game – Bleacher Report

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You again?

Including the title that one will win Monday night, North Carolina and Villanova have combined for six national championships in the past 35 years. Oddly enough, they played each other in five of those six tournaments.

North Carolina beat Villanova 70-60 in the 1982 Elite Eight, 67-66 in the 2005 Sweet 16 and 83-69 in the 2009 Final Four. And in the only national championship in Villanova history, the Wildcats beat the Tar Heels 56-44 in the 1985 Elite Eight. They also met in the second round in 1991 and in a No. 8 vs. No. 9 game in 2013; UNC won both of those games.

Does any of that impact what happens in Houston in 2016? Nope. Not one bit. At any rate, it doesn’t mean any more than Oklahoma’s 23-point win over Villanova earlier this season, and the Wildcats paid back the Sooners in spades for that. But relevance to the current season hasn’t ever stopped us from dragging up ancient history in the Final Four.


NRG Stadium effect

Speaking of dragging up data, you didn’t really think we’d stop mentioning the venue after two-thirds of this year’s final three games were played, did you?

On the one hand, Villanova shot the lights out Saturday, making 71.4 percent of its field-goal attempts and 61.1 percent of its 18 three-point attempts. But that simply makes the Wildcats a statistical outlier. The other three teams shot a combined 26.1 percent from three-point range and 57.1 percent from the free-throw line Saturday night.

If we remove Villanova from the equation, the teams involved in the last eight NCAA tournament games at NRG Stadium combined to shoot 38.2 percent from the field and 27.2 percent from beyond the arc. If you honestly believe the Wildcats broke the curse, you’re probably also the type to think that your luck is turning when your number finally hits on the roulette table.


From doormat to dynasty?

Do you know which team has the most wins in the past three seasons? I’ll give you a hint: This team is playing Monday night, and it’s not North Carolina.

Jay Wright has led Villanova to a 96-13 record since the beginning of 2013-14, despite failing to reach the Sweet 16 in either of the past two years. In the span of three weeks, the Wildcats went from a team that can’t win when it matters to a team that is emerging as a legitimate dynasty.

Win or lose Monday, Villanova should be a top-10 candidate to win it all in 2017, as well. The Wildcats are losing Daniel Ochefu and Ryan Arcidiacono, but assuming Josh Hart comes back for his senior year, he’s a surefire preseason All-American. Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson are destined for great sophomore seasons, and 5-star center Omari Spellman, per 247Sports, will be a big help to Darryl Reynolds in the frontcourt.


Gunnin’ for a third dadgum title

While Wright hopes to give his coaching legacy a jolt with his first career national championship, Roy Williams is looking to join some elite company with his third title.

Only five coaches in college basketball history have won three or more titles. John Wooden had 10 with UCLA, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski has five, Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp won four championships in the span of 11 years before most of us were born, and Bob Knight (Indiana) and Jim Calhoun (Connecticut) have three apiece.

That’s the full list. At least for a few more hours. And with a career winning percentage of .790, Williams is already in the top 10 all-time on that list. A third title would make him a lock for college basketball’s coaching Mount Rushmore, right?

Everything You Need to Know About the 2016 NCAA Basketball Championship Game – Bleacher Report