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Monday’s SportsBIT Show: National Championship Game Preview

No.1 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 North Carolina
It’s only the second matchup between top seeds in
the national championship game this decade; the other was in 2015 when Duke beat Wisconsin. Since 1985, there have been six national finals contested between No. 1 seeds. All of those finals were decided by single digits, with an average margin of victory of just 5.8 points. North Carolina looks for its sixth national title all-time and to become the first team to lose in the title game and then win it the next year since, well, North Carolina. The 1981 Tar Heels lost to Indiana and then beat Georgetown the next year – remember the Hoyas’ Fred Brown passed in the final seconds mistakenly to UNC’s James Worthy? Gonzaga, which last faced North Carolina in 2009 and was routed in the NCAA Tournament, is in the first championship game in school history. No school has won its first title in its first appearance since Maryland in 2002.

UNC leads the nation in rebounding — thanks in large part to 6-foot-10, 260-pound senior Kennedy Meeks — because it is usually much bigger than its opponent. That will not be the case on Monday as the Zags have more size than some NBA teams, led by 7-footers Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins. The latter, a freshman, was a monster in the Final Four win over South Carolina with 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks. Good time to have the game of his young collegiate career. Collins is a rare top recruit (i.e. good enough to go to North Carolina) landed by Mark Few. Incidentally, Few has the best winning percentage of any active college coach at .818. North Carolina’s Roy Williams is second at .790. It’s the fifth national championship game for Williams dating to his Kansas days. His teams are 2-2. The guys like UNC to cover that small number for the “play of the day.”

Special Guest To Talk Bullpens
The Major League Baseball season began Sunday, and special guest Rob Veno joins Teddy & Pauly on Monday’s show to talk about bullpens around the game this season. The Cleveland Indians, led by Andrew Miller, and Baltimore Orioles, headed by Zach Britton, appear to have to two best ‘pens in the game. It’s not a coincidence both made the playoffs in 2016, and the Indians nearly won
the World Series thanks in large part to Miller and closer Cody Allen. On the flip side, the Atlanta Braves are going with journeyman Jim “I’ll Probably Be Released by August” Johnson to close out games for now. Johnson had a 10.13 ERA in 25 appearances last year with the Dodgers before being released and picked up by Atlanta. He was solid for the Braves, but Johnson is usually a gas can.