Men's College Basketball
Preview
Gonzaga vs North Carolina
When: 9:20 PM ET, Monday, April 3, 2017
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

Gonzaga is in uncharted territory while North Carolina aims to make up for last season's NCAA Tournament championship game loss when the two No. 1 seeds collide Monday in Glendale, Ariz. The Bulldogs are in the title game for the first time in school history while the Tar Heels, who lost to Villanova last season, are looking to win their sixth national crown.

North Carolina suffered a 77-74 loss last season when Villanova's Kris Jenkins drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the players were constantly reminded of the fact during their NCAA Tournament run. "I think you're always going to have that in the back of your mind because it was a heartbreaking experience for us," said senior center Kennedy Meeks, who matched his career high of 25 points and collected 14 rebounds in Saturday's 77-76 victory over Oregon. Gonzaga regularly hears a different refrain that suggests they aren't a championship-caliber squad because it plays in the middling West Coast Conference. "I think the respect thing has to go out the window," junior point guard Nigel Williams-Goss said after scoring 23 points in Saturday's 77-73 victory over South Carolina. "You have 37 wins in a college season, I mean that's just unbelievable. And to be playing the last game of the season, we have a chance to play for it all and we're here to win it."

TV: 9:20 p.m. ET, CBS

ABOUT GONZAGA (37-1): Backup freshman center Zach Collins displayed why he is the program's top NBA prospect by contributing 14 points, 13 rebounds and a career-best six blocked shots versus South Carolina. The trio of Collins (averages of 10 points, 5.9 rebounds), senior center Przemek Karnowski (12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds) and junior power forward Johnathan Williams (10.2 points, team-best 6.5 boards) will be counted on to neutralize North Carolina's strong interior play. Williams-Goss (team-best 16.9 points), senior shooting guard Jordan Mathews (10.8 points, team-leading 83 3-pointers) and sophomore guard Josh Perkins (eight points per game) combined for 130 of the Bulldogs' 263 steals.

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (32-7): Meeks is a beast on the boards with a 13.3 rebounding average over the past four games and is averaging 12.7 points and a team-leading 9.4 rebounds -- a big reason why the Tar Heels boast the best rebounding margin (12.7) in the country. Junior forward Justin Jackson leads the Tar Heels in scoring (18.3) and 3-pointers (105) and recorded three 20-point outings in the tourney, including 22 points against Oregon. Junior point guard Joel Berry II (14.5 points) is playing through two sprained ankles - he was 2-of-14 shooting against the Ducks - while senior forward Isaiah Hicks (11.8) also averages in double digits.

TIP-INS

1. The programs split two previous meetings with North Carolina's victory coming in the Sweet 16 of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

2. The Tar Heels lead the nation in offensive rebounds (15.8) per game.

3. The Bulldogs rank second nationally in field-goal percentage (50.8) behind UCLA (52.2).

PREDICTION: Gonzaga 80, North Carolina 78
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Gonzaga 37-1 W8 15-1 10-0 12-0 15-0 22-1 20-1
North Carolina 32-7 W5 16-0 6-5 10-2 14-3 18-4 15-5
Last Meeting
Gonzaga North Carolina
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/27/09 GONZ 77 UNC 98 77 28 46.6 98 40 52.9
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Gonzaga J. Pargo 16 60.0 3
North Carolina T. Hansbrough 24 80.0 8
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Gonzaga A. Daye 11 0 11
North Carolina T. Hansbrough 10 3 7
Assists Player  
Gonzaga S. Gray 3
North Carolina T. Lawson 9
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Gonzaga N. Williams-Goss 625 49.3 153
North Carolina J. Jackson 715 44.7 94
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Gonzaga J. Williams 246 70 176
North Carolina K. Meeks 368 148 220
Assists Player  
Gonzaga N. Williams-Goss 173
North Carolina J. Berry II 132
Quickchart Matchup
blue bar Gonzaga Off vs  red bar North Carolina Defense
blue bar 83.1 Points For
red bar 71.0 Points Against
blue bar 50.8 FG%
red bar 41.6 FG%
blue bar 37.3 Reb
red bar 28.1 Reb
red bar North Carolina Off vs  blue bar Gonzaga Defense
red bar 84.3 Points For
blue bar 61.2 Points Against
red bar 46.6 FG%
blue bar 36.5 FG%
red bar 40.0 Reb
blue bar 30.0 Reb