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NCAA Final Four 2017: Schedule, Odds and Predictions

The Final Four is here and the madness has arrived. Probably after the four full rounds of the NCAA tournament, there is little doubt that head coach Frank Martin’s team deserves this trip as much as one of the three other participants. The Gamecocks lead the basket and play relentless defense on an every-game basis. South Carolina (26-10) gained its trip to the Final Four with a 77-70 victory over Southeastern Conference rival Florida Sunday at New York’s City’s Madison Square Garden.

South Carolina vs. Gonzaga

The Gamecocks may have been the seventh seed, but they stood up to Florida’s pressure. Sindarius Thornwell and his teammates will play top-seeded Gonzaga in their Final Four matchup in Phoenix. The Bulldogs (36-1) overpowered the Xavier Musketeers 83-59 in their Elite Eight conflict. Thornwell is a relentless, game-changing player who scored 26 points against the Gators and has scored 15 points or more in 19 straight games. He has a series of moves that allows him to operate down low, move out defenders and get open shots at the most crucial moments.
Thornwell is averaging 21.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, and he gets help from teammate PJ Dozier, who is adding in 13.7 points per game. Duane Notice and Chris Silva are also fighting in double figures for the Gamecocks. Nigel Williams-Goss is the Bulldogs’ go-to scorer, and he leads the team with 16.7 points per game and is shooting 49.0 percent from the field. In addition to those two, Jordan Mathews and Johnathan Williams are both averaging in double figures for the Zags. South Carolina and Gonzaga will meet Saturday at 6:09 p.m. ET, and the Bulldogs are favored by 6.5 points.
South Carolina has passed every test to this point and has reached the Final Four for the first time in the team’s history. The same is true for Gonzaga, but the Bulldogs have been an established power for many years. The Gamecocks may be a bit star struck at the Final Four, and they could have a hard time getting their feet on their ground and concentrating on the task at hand.

Oregon vs. North Carolina

The Tar Heels were pushed to the limit by the Kentucky Wildcats, but North Carolina earned its spot in the Final Four when Luke Maye hit the game-winning jumper with 0.3 seconds remaining to give head coach Roy Williams’ team a 75-73 victory. While North Carolina lost last year’s NCAA title game, Maye came off as the lead to score 17 points for the Tar Heels, and that contribution helped North Carolina get back to the Final Four for the second year in a row.
Justin Jackson had 19 points to lead the Tar Heels, while Kennedy Meeks came up huge with seven points and 17 rebounds. The Tar Heels will meet the Oregon Ducks (33-5) on Saturday April 1 at 8:49 p.m. North Carolina is a 4.5-point favorite in the game.
Oregon earned its spot in the Final Four with its upset victory over Kansas Saturday night. The Ducks are not likely to be intimidated by the Tar Heels, but North Carolina appears to have an edge because of its ability to play its best basketball when the game is one the line. The Tar Heels did that in their round of 32 victories over Arkansas and did it again in their epic win over Kentucky.
This will come out to be another classic game, but North Carolina will find its way to get it done, even if Oregon stays in full swing.

NCAA 2017 Division 1 Men’s Basketball championship and much more!

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Kevin Nichols

I was born in Montreal but raised in Toronto. Go Leafs! I was an English major at York and graduated in 2007. Currently I work for LM Sports & Entertainment which has me hanging out in BVI. I love playing poker – especially Texas Hold’em, I am crazy about all sports and have a troubling addiction to Orange is the New Black.