WHY VILLANOVA WILL WIN: Teams underestimate the physicality that 'Nova plays with because of its size. If the Wildcats continue to focus on driving the ball and not settling for the jumper off the dribble, they will be in good shape. To be clear on this, when the 'Cats catch off the gap and kick, I predict they shoot 50 percent from three. When they shoot off the bounce, it is probably 30 percent.
'Nova will be the best on-the-ball defensive team that Carolina faces this year. Carolina has not faced a team that switches screens like 'Nova. Look for the Wildcats to double all post touches, and they are athletic enough to scramble out of it.
NORTH CAROLINA OFFENSIVE KEYS:
1. Transition: Carolina needs Ty Lawson to be his usual self, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington need to sprint the wings and Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson need to continue to run. It is Carolina's best offense.
2. Post touches: Look for Carolina to try to attack 'Nova's size inside.
3. Glass: Look for Carolina to send three and four people to the offensive glass.
NORTH CAROLINA DEFENSIVE KEYS:
1. Transition : Look for the Tar Heels to emphasize their bigs, running the floor defensively. They do not want to allow 'Nova easy buckets.
2. Guarding the ball: 'Nova is the best dribble-drive-kick team out there. Carolina has to guard the ball the best it ever has.
3. Reynolds/Cunningham : Carolina has to decide how it will guard the Reynolds-to-Cunningham ball screen. This could be the difference in the game.
VILLANOVA OFFENSIVE KEYS:
1. Transition: Need to sprint to score.
2. 10-second rule: Carolina will play great defense for the first 10 seconds. 'Nova will have much easier opportunities after the first 10 seconds.
3. Make Carolina's power forward and center guard on the perimeter: Cunningham will have an opportunity to dominate this game.
VILLANOVA DEFENSIVE KEYS:
1. Transition: Cannot let Lawson be a one-man fastbreak. He is the best in college basketball at pushing the ball. 'Nova needs to sprint back.
2. Help-side defense: Need to have great defense, especially when the ball goes on the block.
3. Glass: Hold Carolina to fewer than 10 offensive rebounds and 'Nova is in good shape.