However, being an underdog did not stop them thus far, and star guard Sindarius Thornwell does not plan on letting it stop them this weekend. Their big men dominated inside.
The Tar Heels have won five NCAA tournament titles, the most recent in 2009.
Gonzaga and North Carolina meet in the championship at 9 p.m. Monday on CBS. This time they'll play Gonzaga Monday night.
OR took the bait and took the first early 3 they had that was open. Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins are both 7-footers who can take up space and hold their ground down low. They are playing an elite level of basketball and Roy Williams does not even flinch at the pressure of the Final Four, considering he has been there eight times before. "But I thought, you know, getting those blocked shots would help us".
Meeks scored 25 points on 11-of-13 shooting for North Carolina, which lost in last year's championship game on Villanova's last-second shot.
Though some may scoff at the pedestrian rankings for three of the best players in college basketball, it's a good thing for OR fans, especially seeing a veteran-laden North Carolina team void of elite prospects advance to the national championship.
Gonzaga swingman Johnathan Williams bumped and bruised Sindarius Thornwell throughout the Final Four, shadowing his every step, preventing the SC star from getting the ball, much less a good shot.
Top-seeded Gonzaga went up 65-51 when Williams-Goss flipped in a driving layup and made a free throw for a three-point play with 10:55 left. The Zags' stingy D makes the difference as Carolina falls short in the final for the second straight year. "Josh Perkins did a job being really patient and not fouling on the shot". "The whole time (outsiders) were thinking we weren't gonna get here and we got here". Gonzaga used its attacking perimeter defence to create numerous early turnovers by SC while building a 14-point lead in the national semifinals.More news: Trump aide urges defeat of Michigan member of Freedom Caucus
Dan Wolken from USA TODAY tweeted out that Nigel Williams-Goss came out of the locker room saying "They said we weren't battle tested! We weren't going to go out with a team hitting another game-winner on us". Berry really struggled to shoot the ball on Saturday, and will now face the daunting task of going up against Nigel Williams-Goss, who was terrific against SC.
North Carolina is the favorite with a 32-7 record, coming out of the ACC. SC was wary of sending double-teams Karnowski's way - he's a whip-smart passer - but his strength allowed him to exploit one-on-one matchups on several occasions. Jason McIntyre of FS1 said Gonzaga played no team that had won their conference championship or their regular season championship. "We understand we have the best chance here of doing that".
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Meeks joins Larry Bird, Ed O'Bannon, Carmelo Anthony and Danny Manning as the only players to reach 25 points and 14 rebounds in the Final Four over the last 40 years. "He just took it from me". "They nearly carried me into the arena. I'd tell all of them, 'Imagine if you were out there'".
Daniel Incerpi, the president of the basketball team's highly motivated booster club, grew up going to Catholic school and wanted a similar experience in college. He left for the last 5 minutes of the half, but Collins picked him up, finishing with 8 points at halftime.
"It was pitch black, no lights, no nothing", Johnathan Williams III said thinking back to the preseason. "I had blurry vision, a little bit shadow".
"I really did say that". OR shot 3 for 18 from 3 in the second half. Their last tournament victory was in 1973 - and yes, Thompson was a fan back then, too.
Not to mention they are the first seven seed in the Final Four since 1984. 2, 3 and 4 seeds in the East region.
Few has been the coach of Gonzaga for 18 seasons and never once have the Zags missed the NCAA Tournament.