While the 2017 NCAA tournament hasn’t exactly been filled with Cinderellas, major upsets, and a galore of buzzer-beaters, not many people could have predicted a Final Four consisting of the South Carolina Gamecocks (No. 7 seed), Gonzaga Bulldogs (No. 1 seed), Oregon Ducks (No. 3 seed), and North Carolina Tar Heels (No. 1 seed) when the games first started.
Sure, North Carolina and Gonzaga both hold No. 1 seeds, and Oregon was ranked No. 5 entering the 2016-17 college basketball season, but predicting all of those teams to make the Final Four, and especially South Carolina? That would have been crazy talk entering the Big Dance.
As fans have likely heard a million times, that is why the games are played, and that’s also why the tournament is nicknamed March Madness — because the unexpected tends to happen, if you will.
Before the Final Four goes down on Saturday — and what a Final Four it will be — let’s unleash some bold predictions.
Note: Just in case you were wondering, or somehow didn’t see the matchups, South Carolina will be taking on Gonzaga while Oregon will take the court against North Carolina.
Kennedy Meeks Has Himself A Game To The Tune Of 20 Points And 10 Boards
Kennedy Meeks might not be the leading scorer for the Tar Heels (that would be Justin Jackson), but he is still capable of dropping a 20-point game here and there. For all it’s worth, he is a senior, and he is also averaging 12.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest.
Meeks hasn’t cracked the 10-point mark since the second round, but now is the time for him to step up. After all, this is the biggest stage in college basketball. In the spirit of that thinking, look for Meeks to have his best game of the dance from a scoring standpoint, which will lead to at least 20 points (side note: his high during this tournament is 16 points).
And, of course, Meeks will also drop at least 10 boards, which isn’t as bold as Part 1 of this prediction considering the Tar Heel is coming off of a 17-rebound game.
Nigel Williams-Goss Goes Cold For An Entire Half
Nigel Williams-Goss is one of the best players in the country. Don’t believe that statement? Well, then you clearly haven’t been watching college hoops this season, and you also haven’t heard the news:
The Wooden Award finalists:— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 27, 2017
Caleb Swanigan pic.twitter.com/NfQQq1qezB
And now, let’s paint this prediction in bold. Williams-Goss will go cold for an entire half. What does that mean? He won’t make a single shot from the field for an entire half. That doesn’t mean he won’t go scoreless — because he could still drain a couple of free throws — but Frank Martin’s defense will zone in on the Bulldog, which will lead to an undesirable half for Williams-Goss, to say the least.
Williams-Goss is averaging 16.7 points per game on the year, and he is also coming off of a 23-point performance in the Elite Eight.
One word: Bold.
Sindarius Thornwell Rains In 30 Points, South Carolina Makes The Title Game
Sindarius Thornwell has been one of the greatest stories of the 2017 NCAA tournament, and he is about to take over the Final Four.
Thornwell is averaging 21.6 points per game in 2016-17, and he has been, if you can believe it, even better during the tournament, a tournament in which he is putting up 25 points per game (25.75, to be exact).
Just to show off how incredible the Gamecock has been in the Big Dance, here are his performances so far: Thornwell scored 29 points against the Marquette Golden Eagles, he dropped 24 points on the Duke Blue Devils, he rained in 24 points on the Baylor Bears, and he scored 26 more points on the Florida Gators.
Thornwell. Has. Been. Incredible.
Look for him to continue the scoring spree, which will lead to him scoring 30 or more points and South Carolina knocking off Gonzaga.
The Tar Heels Win By Double Figures
The Oregon Ducks deserve to be in the Final Four. They are coming off of a 14-point victory against the Kansas Jayhawks, after all. With that in mind, North Carolina is hungry, and it is looking to avenge its heartbreaking loss from last season’s title game.
North Carolina is arguably the most talented team standing, and it will show in the Final Four as the Tar Heels will do some surviving and advancing to the tune of a double-digit victory against Oregon.
[Featured Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]