Final Four Preview and Predictions

The Final Four is set as South Carolina and Gonzaga, and Oregon and North Carolina get ready to square off this weekend in Phoenix Arizona.

You have the Tar Heels from North Carolina who have been a basketball powerhouse which will be appearing in its 20th all-time Final Four. Then you have the Gonzaga Bulldogs a small school in Washington that became a powerhouse and have now made it to their first Final Four. The Oregon Ducks, the 3 seed out of the Midwest Region have finally come together and have made their first Final Four since 1939. Finally there’s the South Carolina Gamecocks, a seven seed who hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game for 43 years.

South Carolina

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South Carolina, the 7 seed, is  the Cinderella of the tournament even though they don’t seem to fit that role as a state school and big time head coach.

The Gamecocks, who are carried by their tenacious defense, would be the most improbable team to win it all this year who are still in it.

Before the tournament, nobody thought South Carolina would win more than one game let alone four. The Gamecocks had just come off losing 5 out of their last 7 games and didn’t look like a convincing bracket buster at all. Two weeks later, Frank Martin’s team is one of the last four teams remaining. The team has thrived on defense all season, led by point guard Sindarius Thornwell. Thornwell, the SEC Player of the Year, has been the tournament leading scorer score 24 to 29 points in every game. If that continues, the Gamecocks could be the NCAA Champions.


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The Gonzaga Bulldogs have just made their first Final Four ever. Despite appearing in each of the last 17 Big Dances and have one at least one game in each of the last nine years, Gonzaga has finally made it to their first Final Four.

Gonzaga has only lost one time this year, against BYU, which stripped the Bulldogs of any chance at the first overall seed in the tournament. But with wins over Arizona, Iowa State, Michigan, and Saint Mary’s the comittee selected them as a 1 seed. After two close games against Northwestern and West Virginia, everything went right for Gonzaga against 11 seed Xavier in the Elite Eight by beating them 83-59.


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The Oregon Ducks were overly hyped in the preseason as they were ranked higher than their opponent, North Carolina, to start of the season. The Ducks lost 2 of their first 4 games and with point guard Dillon Brooks out with a foot injury in losses to Baylor and Georgetown, the spotlight was taken away from Oregon before they even had a chance for anyone to see who they were.

But Brooks got back on the court and so did his team and before you knew it Oregon finished Pac-12 play on a 17 game winning streak and tied with Arizona in first place. But then with the Ducks fighting for a Pac-12 champion and a Number 1 seed the injury bug bit them again with center Chris Boucher going down with an ACL tear. The Ducks lost to Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship Game and got a 3 seed. Oregon has then won all four of their tournament games so far, most impressivewith a blowout win over Kansas.

North Carolina

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The North Carolina Tar Heels may not be the only 1 seed still standing, but they sure are the overwhelming favorite to cut don the nets in Phoenix. After winning the ACC regular season title by 2 games the committee rewarded them with a 1 seed.

North Carolina made it to the Final Four by beating Texas Southern, Arkansas, Butler, and Kentucky. Their win over Kentucky was  thrilling game as backup forward Luke Maye hit a jumper with 0.03 seconds left to give them a 75-73 win over Kentucky. The Tar Heels are known for their offensive ability this season as they rank third in assists per game, and ninth in points per game.


And now for the predictions…

South Carolina over Gonzaga

North Carolina over Oregon

North Carolina over South Carolina

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