The 2019 NCAA Tournament is finally here and the brackets are out. A majority of bookies, analysts, and fans are in favor of the Duke Blue Devils to win the tournament. However, sentiments change with each passing game, and North Carolina has been making headlines of late. Some analysts honestly believe that North Carolina has what it takes to run the Blue Devils out of town.
So, which cards does North Carolina have up its sleeves that may potentially upset an otherwise decided outcome?
Coby White is Back
Coby White is at the helm of UNC. He is the point guard this season, and he seems to have settled into his position fairly well. He has taken a break from the Berry, the previous point guard – whereas Berry focused more on the floor White is going all out and is at his best when he is looking to score.
Coby White seems to be upping his game at the most opportune moment for North Carolina. The regular season has seen him drop 28, 21, and 34 points on Clemson, Duke, and Syracuse respectively – and this is in just three of his last four games for the ACC tournament. He has also finished with 40 more assists than turnovers. Finally, White seems to be leading the entire team’s offense as it seems to follow his directions – he is not only a good player but also a unifying factor.
If Coby White goes on with the performance he has put up during the regular season, North Carolina will be looking at one more advantage over the Blue Devils.
North Carolina is one of the few teams in its region that take on the risk of cultivating players in their senior years. This time it has three senior leaders that make up the team’s backbone: shooting guard Kenny Williams and forwards Luke Maye and Cameron Johnson.
Maye has been putting up quite a show during the regular season and is already considered an NCAA tournament hero. Johnson is also rising up fast with such a good performance that the NBA has taken notice. He has average 47% on his three-pointers on an average of six attempts for each game he has played. Besides, his height (6’9) is already daunting enough as few other players can match up to him. Kenny Williams, unfortunately, has seen a dip in his performance but there are high expectations that he will come around when it matters the most.
Combined with Coby White, these three senior players will certainly put up a fight against the Blue Devils. In contrast, Duke is banking all its hopes on one player: Zion. Unfortunately, UNC’s coach doesn’t seem to have such high regard for Zion, who he compared with his 6-year-old son in a recent jab against the team.
Duke Blue Devils May not Keep Up
North Carolina ranks top when it comes to speed as they play faster than any other team on the tournament. Their coach, Williams, seems to have cultivated a culture of speed and perfected in this past regular season when the team played at its fastest yet. In fact, UNC was so fast that it finished in 4th position having lost only to low-major schools.
North Carolina attributes its speed to its teamwork – as mentioned, the team unifies behind Coby White. This is well illustrated in its 5th national ranking when it comes to assists – it assisted on 62% of its made goals for this regular season. This is more than can be said for the Duke Blue Devils which may have a difficult time keeping up with the Tar Heels.
The match between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina will certainly be explosive, but no one can really be sure of who will take the trophy home. You cannot afford to miss it, so be sure to stream March Madness live and watch history in the making.