Who has the edge in the Final Four?

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Alexis Davis, theSCORE Lead Reporter

March Madness has truly lived up to its name this year. The NCAA men’s tournament was full of rollercoaster-worthy twists and turns. Some teams have floated and other teams have drowned, but one thing has remained the same: the stakes are high.

This year’s Final Four match-ups consist of traditional programs with an extensive history of star power. These teams naturally draw spectators with their name and stature. This year will be no different. All four teams will put on a show at the highest stage of college basketball.

Villanova and Kansas begin the quartet of frenzies to the national championship. The Wildcats will be chasing their third national title in six years. Villanova will have to rally together to pull out a win despite the absence of Justin Moore.

Moore averaged 15 points, 5 rebounds and 34 minutes a game. During Villanova’s quest in the Elite Eight, Moore suffered from a torn Achilles tendon in the final seconds of the game. The Wildcats announced he will be having surgery and sit out against Kansas.

The support Moore received from his teammates after he went down stole the show from everyone in the arena and on social media. The starting point guard suffered from a similar injury while attending Dematha High School in Hyattsville, MD. Moore was able to bounce back from the injury and still be one of the top recruits of his class.

One NBA superstar that can relate to Moore is Kevin Durant. Durant and Moore are both natives of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Durant tore his Achilles during Game 5 of the NBA Finals in 2019. On Wednesday, the towering guard dialed Moore to give him words of encouragement. Growing up, Durant was one of Moore’s favorite players to watch.

“Look, these guys had it in the NBA and people in the NBA know now that you can come back from that. Earlier, before me, when that happened to you NBA people thought you were done. But so many people have come back from that now, I want him to know he’s not done and that NBA people know that, too,” Durant said.

The outcome of the Wildcats and Jayhawks can be anyone’s game. The absence of Moore could spark a new relentless fuse for the Wildcats and a new team could step onto the court in New Orleans. Kansas also has their transfer addition Remy Martin. Martin could possibly lead coach Bill Self to his second national title. Villanova’s Collin Gillespie will be certain to not make this victory easy for the Jayhawks.

TheScore’s overall prediction for the NCAA title is the Tarheels and here is why. The Tar Heels have been playing with consistency the entire season. They have performed well in high-pressured situations. This dynamic group of NBA-bound players also communicate well on the court.

The Tar Heels started off the season on a slow start and Head Coach Hubert Davis got heat for the team’s play at the beginning of the season, Taking tough losses to Miami, Notre Dame and Wake Forest had UNC fans worrying if the Heels could make it into the tournament. However, ever since their big win at Duke, Coach K’s final game in Cameron Indoor Stadium, UNC hasn’t looked back. z

The Tar Heels possess range. Range will be key in New Orleans because it will be the element that will give each team their long run and even possibly win the game. Guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis show strength and determination while driving to the basketball. These fundamental points will be the main thing that ultimately keeps them in the game.

Although it will be an unfortunate way to end Coach K’s career, the Tar Heels will be marching up the ladder to cut down the net on Monday.