The North Carolina Tar Heels took home the 2017 NCAA men's basketball championship after a 71-65 victoryover the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Monday night in Glendale, Ariz.
Marred by foul call after foul call, thegame was an ugly end to March Madness, so it should come as no surprise that severalinteresting stats from the contest are also not very pretty. Brace yourself, and enjoy.
Ten stats from the 2017 NCAA national championship game
– To get some basics out of the way, North Carolina improved to 6-5 in national championship games. Six titles puts them at third all time, trailing only UCLA (11) and Kentucky (eight). With their 123rd tournament win, the Tar Heelsarebehind only those Wildcats, who reached 124 thanks to their Elite Eight run this season. And at .732, UNC’s winning percentage inthe NCAA Tournament is now second only to Duke's.754.
– Roy Williams won his third national title as the Tar Heels' head coach, one more than his mentor, the legendary Dean Smith. Remarkably, Williams (398-115) and Smith (879-254) now own an identical winning percentage with North Carolinaat exactly .7758.Williams has made fiveFinal Fours in 14 seasons (36 percent) in Chapel Hill, while Smith made 11 in 36 seasons (31 percent). Can we start calling this an actual debate?
– Gonzaga was the fourth team since the bracket expanded in 1985 to reach the title game with only one loss. Each of the previous three one-loss teams – Derrick Rose’s 2008 Memphis Tigers, Deron Williams’ 2005 Fighting Illini and Elton Brand’s 1999 Blue Devils – also failed to take home the championship.This was also Gonzaga's eighth shot at beating a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and it has come up short each time.
– Officiating felt like the story in this game; each team was called for 22 personal fouls. The 44 combined fouls didn’t come close to the record for a championship game, or even one that featured Roy Williams’ Tar Heels.In 2009, North Carolina and Michigan State combined for 50 personal fouls in an 89-72 UNC win. The title-game record was set in 1952, when St. John's and Kansas hacked each other 60 times.
– Despite being outrebounded 49-46 Monday, North Carolina finished the season with an average rebound differential of plus-12.3 per game. That’s better than any team since the 2000-01 Michigan State Spartans squad that featured Zach Randolph and Jason Richardson. This year’s Tar Heels had been outdueled on the glass just three timesbefore Monday night, and they had lost all three games.
– After pulling down 10 boards Monday, Kennedy Meeks finished the NCAA Tournament with 69 total rebounds. Only five players have grabbed more rebounds in a single tournament during the expanded bracket era, and all of them became NBA Draft lottery picks: Nick Collison of Kansas (81), Larry Johnson of UNLV (75), Thomas Robinson of Kanas (75), Anthony Davis of Kentucky (74), and Derrick Coleman of Syracuse (73).
– North Carolina shot an abysmal 4 of 27 from 3-point range, thanks in part to an 0-of-9 stinker from Justin Jackson. UNC's14.8 percent clip was the lowest by any winning team in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Amazingly, that performancewas not the worst in a title game, or even the worst by a winner. In 2011, Kemba Walker’s UConn Huskies shot 1 of 11 (9.1 percent) in their championship win over Butler.
– Gonzaga 7-1 center Przemek Karnowski struggled badly all night. He shot just 1 of 8 (12.5 percent) from the field and committed four turnovers. It’s rare to see the moment get too big for aplayerthat big. Sadly,Karnowski’s field goal percentagewas the worst by any 7-footer in an NCAA Tournament game over the past 20 years(minimum eight shot attempts).
– Gonzaga as a team had by far its worst shooting game of the season, finishing at 33.9 percent (20 of 59). That crushed its previous low of 39.4. Karnowski, Nigel Williams-Goss and Jordan Mathews – the Bulldogs’ three leading scorers for the season – combined to make just eight of 32 from the field.UNC, meanwhile, had its fourth-worst performance of the season at just 35.6 percent, but that was enough to make Monday night the first game all season in whichGonzaga shot worse than its opponent.
– The Bulldogsalso hadn’t seen an opponent out-total them in assists in any gameprior to the national championship. They owned the fifth-highest assists per game differential in the country at plus-5.8. North Carolina won that battle on Monday night with 15 dimes compared to the Zags’ 11. Other than Williams-Goss (six) and Josh Perkins (three), no Gonzaga player had more than one.