The 2017 NCAA Tournament is set with the Final Four teams in place to face each other next weekend and to crown a NCAA National Champion next Monday night. The final four teams are the Gonzaga Bulldogs, the South Carolina Gamecocks, the North Carolina Tar Heels, and the Oregon Ducks.
There isn’t much waiting left as to who will be crowned the winner of the NCAA Tournament and the next NCAA National Champions. The first game will be South Carolina vs. Gonzaga with both teams making their first Final Four appearance. The nightcap of the NCAA Final Four will be between North Carolina vs. Oregon, with this being the 20th time the Tar Heels will be in the Final Four. This will be the second appearance for the Ducks in the Final Four.
Since there are just four teams left in the NCAA Tournament, just which team is the best going into the Final Four on Saturday, April 1? Let’s rank the Final Four teams and see where they stand headed into the final weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball season.
1. North Carolina Tar Heels: No offense to the other three teams remaining in the NCAA Final Four, but the Tar Heels might have just fended off a team in the Kentucky Wildcats that is better than the rest of the Final Four Field. UNC played in the toughest bracket and had a very tough road to reach the NCAA Final Four, especially sinking a basket with less than a second left to reach the Final Four.
What makes the Tar Heels the favorite besides their strong roster and head coach Roy Williams? Think about this… last year they were one basket away from winning the NCAA National Championship and that would be a great motivator for any team.
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs: At first I didn’t believe the Bulldogs were good enough to reach the NCAA Final Four, but they’ve done what they’ve needed to do to keep their NCAA Tournament run going. Gonzaga didn’t struggle in the Elite Eight against the Xavier Musketeers and defeated the West Virginia in the Sweet 16 by three points.
This is the moment the Gonzaga basketball program has waited for years to achieve as they’ve had some good teams in the past. They’ve jumped one hill by reaching the Final Four, and now it will be exciting to see if they can overcome another obstacle.
3. Oregon Ducks: This team has overcome an obstacle by keeping their tournament run going without Chris Boucher, who was injured in the Pac-12 Championship Tournament. Not only has Oregon overcome the injury to their star player, but they’ve excelled in the NCAA Tournament to reach the Final Four, defeating a No. 1 seed in the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday.
Oregon has a good chance to win, but not the best since they will be facing the team I believe is the best in North Carolina on Saturday, April 1. The Ducks have surprised some, and on Saturday, they can shock the world if they can defeat the Tar Heels and reach the championship game.
4. South Carolina: The Cinderella of this NCAA Final Four, the Gamecocks have surprised many by making it this far, and by defeating Florida and with Kentucky losing in the Elite Eight, they are the lone SEC team left standing in the NCAA Tournament.
The Gamecocks fought tough against Florida and defeated them by seven points on Sunday, and in the Sweet 16, they easily handled the Baylor Bears by a 70-50 score. Don’t sleep on South Carolina, because they face Gonzaga, and one of them will be reaching their first NCAA Championship game.
[Featured Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]