"The Stack" 4-4-16

Brice Johnson and Tar Heels are looking to take down Villanova in the men's national championship game tonight. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Brice Johnson and Tar Heels are looking to take down Villanova in the men's national championship game tonight.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Stack is back on this Championship Monday and we’re hours away from crowning a national champion in men’s college basketball.  We’ll preview that game and more so let’s get right to it and see what’s in “the stack” for today, Monday, April 4th:


Final Four recap


We’ll start with the men first.  What a clinic and show the Villanova Wildcats put on the Oklahoma Sooners Saturday down in Houston, beating Oklahoma 95-51.  Villanova shot 71.4 percent for the game and put a 22-0 run together in the second half to put Oklahoma away for good.  Buddy Hield had just nine points.  Not a good time for Oklahoma to have their worst shooting game maybe of the season.  The dome may have had something to do with it, but it didn’t have any effect on Villanova.  They were eleven-for-eighteen from three and have played spectacular in every game this tournament except for maybe that tough game they had with Kansas in the Elite Eight.


UNC has been shooting tremendous in this tournament, but they could not buy a basket from beyond the arc early in their contest against Syracuse.  Didn’t matter.  The Tar Heels dominated in the paint and got rebound after rebound.  It was a close game for most of the first half before UNC built a big lead into the second half and though Syracuse did make a run in the second half to cut a seventeen point deficit down to seven, UNC was just too much for Syracuse, ultimately winning 83-66.  Too bad we didn’t see some closer games in the Final Four.  Can only hope we get that in the championship game tonight. 


On the women’s side, to no surprise #1 UConn dominated #2 Oregon State, beating them 80-51 in Indianapolis.  They were just too strong for Oregon State and that is what we all expected.  But it wasn’t all great news for UConn.  They lost freshman guard Katie Lou Samuelson to a broken foot and she will not play in Tuesday’s championship game.  Shouldn’t matter too much, but it is a shame. 


UConn won’t be taking on the other Huskies squad in the championship game.  The #7 seed Washington Huskies fell behind early and couldn’t make a comeback happen against #4 Syracuse.  The Orange won 80-59.  They made twelve three-pointers, but the big difference was how they crashed the glass.  Syracuse outrebounded Washington 46-28 and held a 17-4 edge on offensive rebounds.  Second chance opportunities will kill an opponent and it certainly did that to Washington.  Syracuse is going to have to rebound extremely well if they want any chance of keeping it close with UConn Tuesday night.


Abby Wambach arrested


USA women’s soccer star Abby Wambach was arrested Sunday and charged with a DUI in Portland, Oregon.  That’s not great news for the recently retired superstar, but it may have an indirect negative effect on the lawsuit the women’s soccer team filed last week in New York regarding a discrepancy in wage compensation that the women get paid compared to the men’s team.  Jeffrey Kessler, longtime lawyer for the NFLPA is representing the women.  The difference the men make compared to the women’s team is shocking, I mean we are talking upwards of 50 percent or more for getting to certain rounds or winning certain games.  This absolutely needs to be addressed, because women’s soccer in the United States is far more successful than men’s soccer.  It seems to be more popular.  There should be no salary divide at all. 


Having said that, news of Wambach’s arrest is certainly not good news.  Yes she is retired and no her arrest isn’t related to this lawsuit at all, but you don’t want anything negative to happen from anyone who has been a part of team USA women’s soccer in these recent years.  It will just make some people think differently.  Again, I don’t think there is any question that the women should be paid the same as the men considering how much better they are than men’s soccer, but let Wambach’s arrest be a strong message to the rest of the women’s team.  Don’t do anything negative or stupid that could indirectly hurt your cause.


Men’s college basketball national championship game


#2 Villanova vs. #1 UNC 9:19 PM ET TBS (NRG Stadium, Houston, TX)


What a great game this should be tonight.  Villanova’s sharp shooting versus North Carolina’s size inside.  Villanova will certainly try to draw UNC’s big men out to try and guard them, but Carolina’s length may be able to thwart that plan of attack.  UNC did not shoot well against Syracuse from beyond the arc on Saturday.  They will need to shoot better from three point range tonight, but they shouldn’t force shots.  Work the ball inside and keep crashing the offensive glass.  Villanova is a good rebounding team, but they don’t have the size that UNC has and the Tar Heels need to take advantage of that.  It’s hard to think that Villanova will be as red hot shooting the ball tonight as they were Saturday night against Oklahoma, but they have been so good in this tournament that it is tough to bet against them.  I think they cool off a little bit, but this should be close up until the end.  UNC was the number one team in college basketball to begin this season for a reason however and I think Brice Johnson and company find a way to fend off Villanova for the championship.


Pick: UNC


Coming up Tuesday: Men’s championship reaction plus women’s championship preview