After defeating Kentucky on Sunday, North Carolina advances to the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to face Oregon, while South Carolina upset Florida on Sunday and will face Gonzaga when March Madness continues Saturday. The seventh-seeded Gamecocks will look for their fourth consecutive upset when they face the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs. The Oregon Ducks will be the underdogs with their No. 3 seed, as they face the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels.
Gonzaga vs. South Carolina
As reported by the New York Times, Gonzaga destroyed Xavier on Saturday, as the Bulldogs qualified for their first-ever NCAA Final Four appearance. Gonzaga had an incredible 2016-17 season, losing only one game before the tournaments began. They won the West Coast Conference tournament before going through South Dakota State, Northwestern, West Virginia and Xavier in the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament.
South Carolina’s latest win was their third game of the season against their SEC rivals, the Florida Gators. As noted by CBS Sports, their victory on Sunday was due in large part to another outstanding performance from Sindarius Thornwell, who had 26 points against Florida. It was the fourth consecutive game in which Thornwell scored 20 or more points, making him arguably the single best player in the tournament this year.
While things could certainly change between now and Saturday’s game, the South Carolina Gamecocks are considered 6.5-point underdogs against the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
North Carolina vs. Oregon
The Oregon Ducks came out strong in the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday, starting the second half with an 11-point lead. They ended up winning by 14, with Tyler Dorsey recording a game-high 27 points. As reported by ESPN, Oregon bested Kansas when it came to field goal percentage (50.9 to 35.0), three-point percentage (44.0 to 20.0), and rebounds (36 to 32).
North Carolina’s victory over Kentucky, however, was considerably more dramatic, as the video below demonstrates. With less than eight seconds to play, Kentucky hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 73. The Tar Heels pushed the ball down the court quickly, and they sank a field goal with just 0.3 left on the clock and the final score was 75-73.
Unlike Gonzaga or South Carolina, both Oregon and North Carolina have been to the Final Four prior to 2017. The Tar Heels have one of the most storied histories in all of college basketball, as this marks their twentieth Final Four appearance. Meanwhile, this is the first time the Ducks have made it this far in the tournament since 1939 when they won the NCAA championship. As of Sunday evening, North Carolina is considered a 4.5-point favorite over Oregon.
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Where to Watch: Final Four Schedule
The Final Four of March Madness begins on Saturday evening, April 1, as Gonzaga vs. South Carolina airs live on CBS from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:09 p.m. EST. The game will be followed immediately by North Carolina vs. Oregon, which also airs live from Glendale on CBS, with a start-time scheduled for 8:49 p.m. EST. The winners will play each other on Monday night, April 3, to determine the 2017 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Champions.
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[Featured Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]