On this week’s episode of Tar Takes, Ryan Lipton and David Matlock analyze UNC’s two wins over Iona and Washington and look forward to their matchup against the Auburn Tigers on Friday. They also look at Duke’s one-point victory over UCF and discuss the recent news involving Lonzo Ball severing ties with Big Baller Brand.
UNC struggles for a period against No. 16 Iona, beats No. 9 Washington easily. What are your thoughts on the Tar Heels after the first two games?
UNC v. Auburn: What are the keys to victory against Auburn?
Would we rather play Houston or Kentucky in the Elite 8 assuming UNC beats Auburn?
Duke v. UCF comes down to one point. Does the one-point win show a weakness in Duke or is it a catapult for Duke to make a run going forward?
Lonzo Ball breaks away from BBB brand after company founder in trouble for fraud
This week on Tar Takes we discuss the North Carolina Tar Heels’ football win over the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday, if they have any shot to upset the Miami Hurricanes on Thursday and if Carolina basketball should be a top 10 team in the country.
In the NFL, we discuss the state of the Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons.
And we look at the Jimmy Butler trade request from the Minnesota Timerbwolves and tell you if that was the right decision for Butler.
Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons (Photo via Getty Images)
Watch the second Tar Takes broadcast with Ryan Lipton and David Matlock below! Tar Takes is presented by The JR Report and the brand new app Relevnt!
We discuss the latest in the sports world with debate segments of the hottest NBA/NFL topics of the week as well as the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Today, we take a look at LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ struggles against the Indiana Pacers, who we think the favorites are in the Eastern Conference, what we think of Luke Maye, Joel Berry, Theo Pinson and the NBA Draft, and the top storylines for the 2018 NFL draft.
No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks
NCAA Tournament – Final Four
April 1, 6:09 pm (ET) on CBS
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
For Gonzaga and South Carolina, this is their first trip to the Final Four. Amazingly, this year was the first time South Carolina even won back-to-back tournament games.
It’s incredible that these two teams are playing each other for the right to go to the National Championship.
Gonzaga has always been a good program, but hasn’t succeeded in the tournament. South Carolina came out of nowhere, guided by star guard Sindarius Thornwell and coach Frank Martin.
Gamecocks keys to victory
Guard Sindarius Thornwell
Thornwell is the reason that the Gamecocks have made it this far. There’s no doubt he’s been the best player in March.
He’s leading the tournament in scoring at 25.7 points per game, shooting lights out, and getting to the line at will (32-39 from the line).
He’s rebounding well for a guard, too, grabbing 7.5 boards per game. Thornwell has played lock down defense as well, guarding the opposing team’s best player each game. In the second round against Duke, he held Luke Kennard to 11 points. Against Baylor, he held junior guard Manu Lecomte to just eight points. Finally, in USC’s win over Florida, he held KeVaugh Allen to 13 points.
Thornwell is a force on offense and consistently locks down good players from the opposition.
Pressure on the wings
In terms of size, South Carolina doesn’t match up well with Gonzaga. However, the Gamecock’s guards are quick and great on defense. They’ll have to put a lot of pressure on the Gonzaga guards, making it difficult to throw the ball inside. Every time Gonzaga gets the ball in the post, it’ll be an easy two points.
South Carolina has the talent to limit Gonzaga’s inside touches, it is just a matter of executing.
Gonzaga keys to victory
Pound it inside
Gonzaga has a huge advantage inside.
South Carolina will struggle to stop Gonzaga Center Przemek Karnowski, who is over seven feet tall. Karnowski has underperformed in this tournament, but a lack of execution from the Gamecocks will lead to easy buckets and rebounds for Karnowski.
Six foot nine Johnathan Williams will also be tough to stop. He’s played better in the latter stages of the tournament, scoring 13 against West Virginia and 19 against Xavier.
Stop Sindarius Thornwell
This one is obvious. Playing against the best player in the tournament, they’ll need to find a way to stop him. If they can’t, he could easily go for 30 points and take South Carolina to their first ever National Championship appearance.
Gonzaga is the better team. They have solid guards who will score double-digits points and big men to wreak havoc. They just need to keep doing what they’ve done all this season and they should knock off South Carolina.
Cinderella teams can make it to the Elite Eight and sometimes the Final Four, but history tells that they rarely go all the way.
The Gamecocks will move on. They have just enough size to stop Gonzaga from going off inside, and they have guards that could present a lot of defensive trouble for Gonzaga. Frank Martin is a great coach, too. I loved him during his time at Kansas State and I believe he’ll make the right adjustments to limit Gonzaga’s big men.
Thornwell will be the difference. Expect him to have a big day with a few clutch shots late to move South Carolina past Gonzaga.
No. 1 North Carolina Tarheels vs. No. 3 Oregon Ducks
NCAA Tournament – Final Four
April 1, 8:49 pm (ET) on CBS
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Last week’s UNC-Kentucky game was the unofficial National Championship. I decided that whichever team came out on top in that nail-biter, I’d pick to win it all.
Predictions in the month of March are erratic, anyone can figure that out by looking at their bracket. Take my prediction with a grain of salt. Here are the keys to victory for both teams.
Oregon’s keys to victory
Ride the experience of Dorsey and Brooks
Guard Tyler Dorsey and forward Dillon Brooks are averaging more than 14 points per game this season. Dorsey, the point guard and leader, is a gritty player who embraces big moments. He’s been Oregon’s best weapon in the tournament, averaging 24.5 points per game.
Brooks, the 6 foot 7 forward, is clear-cut NBA talent. He hasn’t had a 20 point game in the tournament yet, but has been a solid force for the Ducks, scoring in the mid-teens and rebounding well.
Brooks will have to pick up the slack on offense for the Ducks to win this game.
Take advantage of the ankle
North Carolina’s Joel Berry II won’t be 100 percent on Saturday after rolling his ankle several times over the past few weeks; Dorsey should look to take advantage of his immobility.
For Oregon to have a chance tomorrow, Dorsey will need to score close to 30 points.
The emergence of forward Jordan Bell gives Oregon a dynamic new weapon.
The one advantage that UNC has over everyone in the country is size. Bell will have to continue his dominance on the glass if Oregon wants to keep the game close. Bell has averaged almost four more rebounds per game in the tournament (12.5) than his season average (8.6).
Cause foul trouble
With Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks and Tony Bradley in the UNC front-court, Bell is going to have a tough day. In an effort to mitigate North Carolina’s size, Bell will need to go after Hicks to induce foul trouble.
If Oregon can reduce Hick’s minutes, Meeks and Bradley might struggle to stay in front of Brooks and Bell.
To combat UNC’s size, Oregon will have to play small-ball. Oregon only has one quality big man, Bell, while the Tarheels have three. The Ducks need to quicken the pace of play, forcing UNC’s bigs to struggle going up and down the court. Dorsey and Brooks will flourish in an open-court environment.
UNC’s keys to victory
Justin Jackson needs to continue his clutch play. UNC goes through stretches where they struggle to score because they lack shooters. Jackson’s their only star shooter, so he’ll need to hit threes and clutch shots to prevent the Tar Heels from just relying on short range baskets.
UNC has the means to dominate the glass. Oregon only plays one person above six-nine, Bell, while the Tarheels play three. It’s a glaring mismatch, and the number one rebounding team in the country, UNC, needs to take advantage.
Despite UNC’s love for running and gunning, it makes sense for them to slow it down sometimes and throw it into the post. Oregon won’t be able to stop Meeks, Bradley and Hicks down low. Any foul trouble on Bell created by action down low would kill Oregon’s chances, too.
This is the main reason why I don’t see Oregon winning this game. If Oregon slows the game down, UNC’s size will take over. If Oregon speeds the game up to combat the Tarheel’s size, UNC’s depth will take over.
UNC consistently goes ten guys deep in a game, and those five bench players aren’t inept.
Campus legend, Luke Maye, has been rebounding and hitting shots left and right, including the game-winner against Kentucky.
Tony Bradley provides an inside presence that will be hard to stop, and senior guard Nate Britt can provide rest for Berry.
North Carolina’s bench also features guard Stillman White, who played well for Berry in his absence, and guard Seventh Woods, a star in the making.
In their 74-60 win over Kansas, Oregon used just three players off the bench. Two of those three, Keith Smith and Kavell Bigby-Williams, combined for only nine minutes, one point, one assist and one rebound. The other sub, Casey Benson, played 21 minutes, scoring only four points and grabbing two rebounds.
Oregon’s starting five might be great, but they lack size and depth. They’ve gotten away with it up to this point, but UNC boasts the best big men and the deepest team in the country.