2017 NCAA March Madness Final Four Preview
College Basketball News and Previews
- 2017 NCAA March Madness Final Four Preview
- Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Preview
- North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Oregon Ducks Preview
No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks
One is a much-doubted mid-major program. The other is a Cinderella team that very few thought of ever making it past the second round, let alone be in this year’s Final Four. That’s Gonzaga and South Carolina, respectively. After a thrilling 61-58 win over West Virginia in the Sweet 16 round, Gonzaga went back to work and senselessly crushed Xavier in the Elite Eight round, 83-59.
The Bulldogs’ match with South Carolina could mirror the West Virginia game, considering that both Gonzaga and South Carolina play topnotch defenses. Gonzaga is allowing just 59.0 points per game thus far in the tournament, while South Carolina is limiting opponents to 68.5. While that significant difference does make Gonzaga look like they have the advantage here, it’s worth noting that South Carolina is eighth nationally in opponent effective possession ratio and second in forcing turnovers. The Gamecocks saw Florida pick up 16 errors in their 77-70 win in the Elite Eight round.
Writer’s Prediction: Gonzaga (-6.5) wins, 76-72.
No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 3 Oregon Ducks
Internet trolls and Tar Heels haters can keep their ready-made Crying Jordan memes for now. North Carolina edged Kentucky in the Elite Eight, 75-73, despite not getting its usual average of 85.2 points per game. Oregon presents another tough defensive challenge for the Tar Heels even without Chris Boucher.
Boucher’s absence hasn’t been felt too much by the Ducks, who are getting tremendous performances from the trio of Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey, and Jordan Bell. Bell had 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks to help Oregon disarm the prolific offense of Kansas in a 74-60 upset win in the Elite Eight. Kennedy Meeks will play a big role in slowing down Bell. Meeks had 17 rebounds and four blocks against Kentucky.
Writer’s Prediction: North Carolina (-5) wins, 76-71.
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