Bing Predicts winner: North Carolina (58 percent)
Opening line: UNC -5
Tipoff time: 8:49 p.m. EST
When Chris Boucher tore his ACL during the Pac-12 tournament, many expected the Ducks' defense to take a noticeable hit moving forward. Oregon ranks second in the country in blocked shots, with Boucher leading the way at 2.5 per game. His absence was felt in the Ducks' first three tournament games, as the team had just seven blocks total. Against Kansas in the Elite Eight, though, Jordan Bell took matters into his own hands.
Bell dominated the game from start to finish, with a final stat line of 11 points, 13 rebounds, eight blocks and four assists on 5-for-6 shooting. He and teammate Tyler Dorsey are two of the most dangerous players in the Final Four. Dorsey -- the guy they call Mr. March -- has been absolutely on fire this month, as he's scored 20 or more points in his last seven games dating back to the start of the Pac-12 tournament. During the NCAA tournament, he's averaged 24.5 points per game on 34-for-51 shooting (66.7 percent) and 17-for-26 (65.4 percent) on 3-point attempts.
While Bell was a one-man wrecking crew against Kansas, he'll have his hands full against the Tar Heels' front line. Justin Jackson (6-foot-8, 210 pounds), Isaiah Hicks (6-foot-9, 242) and Kennedy Meeks (6-foot-10, 260) can dominate games with their length and size. This is the type of game that the Ducks will miss Boucher the most, as Kavell Bigby-Williams is their only big man off the bench. The Tar Heels also have Elite Eight savior Luke Maye, who's become the big man on campus for his heroics against Kentucky.
For Oregon to advance, it will need Dorsey and Pac-12 player of the year Dillon Brooks to shoot well from the perimeter. North Carolina is a powerhouse on defensive glass, so a repeat of the Ducks' 11-for-25 3-point shooting performance from the Elite Eight would go a long way in negating the Tar Heels' rebounding advantage. If Oregon had one more post player to go toe-to-toe with Meeks and Hicks, perhaps the Ducks would get the nod. Instead, North Carolina is the pick to make it to the title game for the second consecutive year.