The first half of the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Game at NRG Stadium in Houston has been a tight back-and-forth battle, and at the end of the half, it’s No. 1 North Carolina that has a 39-34 lead against No. 2 Villanova.
UNC sophomore guard Joel Berry II leads all scorers with 15 points. For Villanova, junior guard Josh Hart, senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono, senior forward Daniel Ochefu and sophomore guard Phil Booth each have 7 points.
There were 10 lead changes in the first half.
With field goal percentage of 58.3, it doesn’t appear that Villanova will top its blistering shooting performance from Saturday, when the Wildcats shot 71.4%. UNC is shooting a whopping 77.8% from 3-point range.
The crowd has a UNC fan majority, which includes hoops legend Michael Jordan in attendance. When he was shown on the big screen, the fans roared.
Big wins to get to the final
Both teams advanced to the title game with blowout wins on Saturday. Villanova won in a 95-51 rout against No. 2 Oklahoma, while UNC cruised to an 83-66 win over No. 10 Syracuse. This is the first time that UNC and Villanova have played each other in the national championship game. UNC has a 5-1 advantage against Villanova in the NCAA tournament and leads 11-4 overall.
The Tar Heels are trying to win their sixth championship in their 10th appearance and their first since 2009. The Wildcats are trying to win their second. Their first was magical. In 1985, the first time the NCAA tournament had expanded to 64 teams, Villanova, seeded 8th, shot 78.6% from the field — still an NCAA championship record — and defeated No. 1 Georgetown 66-64.
There was another type of history associated with this year’s men’s national championship game. It’s the first time it’s on cable television. The main game broadcast is on TBS, which like CNN, is a Time Warner company.
This year, parity had been the theme in men’s college basketball.
Throughout the season, there wasn’t one dominant team. Six teams — including UNC and Villanova — have been ranked No. 1 this season. And while it was assumed that the NCAA tournament was up for grabs, Monday night’s final consisted of two of the best teams in the nation.