68 teams entered and now we’re down to 4. The Final Four is set for the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Tournament. On one side Gonzaga will take on South Carolina and on the other Oregon will take on North Carolina. The West Coast has a good chance of finally bringing back a National Title (Arizona was the last West Coast Men’s team to win the title in 1997). Another possible scenario this year is that one of the Carolinas (North or South) could bring home the title. Interesting stuff huh?
The Women’s Tournament is also down to the Final Four as Mississippi State prepares to face 100! and Counting my bad Connecticut while the other game is a matchup between South Carolina and Stanford. The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs are making their first appearance in the Women’s Final Four. On the Men’s side, Gonzaga and South Carolina are making their first splash in the Final Four. Oregon made it a long time ago – 1939 to be exact – and won it.
North Carolina will be/are the favorites on the Men’s side. A last second win over Kentucky got them to the Final Four. My daughter slept through the final 3 minutes of the game despite the yelling after each shot. In 14 seasons at UNC, Roy Williams has been to the Elite Eight – 8 times; Final Four – 5 times; and is 2-1 in National Championship games as the Tar Heels Head Coach (got that info courtesy of Bomani Jones on The Right Time). I give Coach Williams a lot flack but I think it’s time for me to retire.
Gonzaga’s Head Coach Mark Few got the monkey that wasn’t on his back the hell up outta here after his Zags bounced this year’s Cinderella – Xavier – by 24 points. Gonzaga is now playing with house money. They’ve done the hard part and gotten to the Final weekend. They just have to win it now.
Oregon had the most impressive win in the Elite Eight. They knocked off the Kansas Jayhawks in what was a road game (thanks for the neutral site NCAA). The game was played in Kansas City, Missouri which is only 40 minutes away from – Lawrence, Kansas – the location of Kansas University. That didn’t stop Jordan Bell from owning the post on both ends of the court while Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks roamed the perimeter.
The most unlikely team out of the four Men’s teams is South Carolina. South Carolina limped into the Tournament as a 7-seed and now they’ve made history. Frank Martin’s teams are known for their defense but on March 19th in the 2nd half against Duke they dropped 65 points! *See them all below.
After doing everybody a favor and ridding us of Duke, they beat Baylor by 20 in the Sweet 16 before pulling off a tough win over Conference foe Florida. South Carolina outscored Florida 14 to 7 in the final 3:32 of that game.
The only team remaining in my bracket is North Carolina and they’re still my pick to win it. The Tar Heels have enough length and height to bother the guards on Oregon’s team. UNC also has enough big men to get the post and bother Jordan Bell. The team to meet North Carolina in the final will be Gonzaga. The Zags will be able to play whatever style South Carolina throws at them. Unlike Florida, I don’t see Gonzaga getting bogged down late in the game on the offensive end. South Carolina will put up a good fight but it won’t be enough.
On the Women’s side…UCONN! This is supposed to be a down year! Mississippi State has a lot of depth but I’m not sure if that’ll be enough. South Carolina has a great post player in A’ja Wilson. Tara VanDerveer has her Stanford team – a mixture of youth and experience – approaching the levels of success she’s accustomed to. Stanford’s win over Notre Dame was a surprise to some and they must be ready to go again on Friday night against South Carolina.
Remember folks…THE CEILING IS THE ROOF!