March Madness 2017: Final Four preview

The Final Four is finally here. After almost a week off, the four remaining teams will take center stage in Phoenix, with three unheralded underdogs (historically, anyway) showing up to take on the one blueblood Goliath of the group.

After all the smoke cleared from the first four rounds, two of the No. 1 seeds remain with the Gonzaga Bulldogs and North Carolina Tar Heels. Then there are the No. 3 Oregon Ducks, who were all but left for dead when Chris Boucher tore his ACL prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament. The last team in would be the SEC’s South Carolina Gamecocks, who entered March Madness as a seventh seed, only to beat the Duke Blue Devils, Baylor Bears and Florida Gators on their way to the Final Four.

On Saturday, the first of the two games will see the Bulldogs and Gamecocks. Gonzaga only lost one game all season before plowing through the West Coast Conference Tournament. In the current tourney, the Bulldogs almost fell to the West Virginia Mountaineers but cruised otherwise, hammering the Xavier Musketeers in the Elite Eight.

After years of getting into the tourney and falling apart under the bright lights, head coach Mark Few has his best shot for a title. The Bulldogs had never been this far before, now having a chance to cut down the last set of nets.

South Carolina was in the same boat when head coach Frank Martin arrived a few years ago. Martin has completely turned around what had been a rancid program, getting the Gamecocks into the Sweet 16 this year in an unexpected run. Martin and his charges are still riding the wave, and with tenacious defense and quality play on the offensive end from the big men, South Carolina will pose a threat to any team it plays.

The second contest of the night gets North Carolina and Oregon, one of the more athletically-gifted games you will see in the college game. Oregon is led by Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks on the perimeter, who are complimented beautifully by the potential MVP of the tourney, Jordan Bell. Bell has been a force of nature throughout March, racking up three double-doubles in four games.

North Carolina is certainly up to the task of dealing with the Ducks. The Tar Heels have one of the greatest coaches of all-time with Roy Williams, who is no stranger of standing tall at the end. Williams has a great team led by Kennedy Meeks, Justin Jackson and Joel Berry. The threesome will match up nicely against Oregon, with the group that plays better most-likely advancing to the National Championship Game.

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