National Championship Video Game Simulation: Previewing North Carolina vs. Kansas on College Hoops 2K8
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ochai Agbaji.
North Carolina vs. Kansas Odds
|North Carolina Odds|
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Last week, we utilized a 15-year old video game, souped-up to reflect current rosters, to deliver a pair of Final Four simulations. The results? College Hoops 2K8 nailed both games, delivering a pair of ATS winners, while correctly predicting both overs.
So, we had to run it back for tonight’s national championship game at the Caesars Superdome.
A reminder to our audience that the rosters themselves have been meticulously edited to reflect the real on-court versions of each player. This includes the reduction in Armando Bacot’s vertical leap, stamina and agility due to his ankle injury. The ratings for all players are based upon a combination of the players’ statistical accomplishments, national and conference accolades and NBA Draft projections.
Additionally, coaching and team tendencies have been tweaked to reflect preferred pace and shot selection frequencies in line with ShotQuality and KenPom.
So, let’s roll out the virtual basketballs, get through shootaround and find out who has the edge on the digital hardwood in New Orleans.
Kansas picked up where it left off from long range inside the Superdome. The Jayhawks made their first three long-range attempts, blitzing North Carolina en route to a 14-4 advantage in the first five minutes of action.
Christian Braun got things started with a catch-and-shoot 3 in transition, and Ochai Agbaji rattled home an NBA-range triple over Leaky Black on the wing.
Armando Bacot was noticeably slowed by his ankle injury, but he still kept the Jayhawks off the offensive glass for the most part. Kansas would collect just three offensive boards in the first half.
As for the UNC attack, Brady Manek helped the Tar Heels stay within striking distance in the first 20 minutes, draining a pair of contested 3s and completing an old-school three-point play just before the final media timeout of the first half.
Kansas would end the first half on a 7-1 run, fueled almost entirely by David McCormack. The Jayhawk big rejected Bacot on the baseline, ran the length of the floor and hammered home a dunk in transition over Manek. On the following possession, he would miss a hook shot over Bacot, but he collected the offensive board and finished inside with a layup.
Remy Martin capped KU’s run with a corner 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds remaining in the half. Bill Self told Tracy Wolfson that he felt his seniors set the right tone in the first half, but that they’d need to sustain that level of intensity to hold off a very talented North Carolina backcourt.
The Tar Heels opened the second half with a pair of turnovers, before beginning to chip away at the Kansas lead. R.J. Davis swished home a 3-pointer with 13:22 remaining in the game, drawing UNC within four, 55-51.
After both teams failed to score on back-to-back possessions, a critical series unfolded in favor of the Jayhawks.
Bacot hauled in a Manek misfire from long range and spun into the lane, drawing a whistle and sinking a baby hook in the process. Unfortunately for UNC fans, the call went against Bacot — his fourth foul — sending the UNC center to the bench with 11:05 remaining in the game.
On the following possession, Agbaji pump-faked at the top of the key, drove past Black and finished through contact. His three-point play sparked a 10-2 Kansas run, breaking the game wide-open.
Down double digits with 7:35 remaining, UNC staged a mini-comeback, clawing within five thanks to a Caleb Love triple from the corner. But that would be as close as Nort Carolina would get down the stretch.
Bacot would foul out with 3:48 remaining in the game, and KU’s combination of McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot sealed off any second-chance scoring opportunities in the closing minutes.
A pair of Braun free throws increased Kansas lead to eight with 26 seconds remaining, sealing the Jayhawks’ first national title since 2008 and the program’s fourth in school history.