We’ve made it. The Final Four has arrived. After all the craziness in the tournament thus far, we are left with four teams that stand above all. Gonzaga, South Carolina, Oregon, and North Carolina all remain and will face off in the Final Four on Saturday. Eventually we it will be down to two teams, who will compete for the National Title on Monday night.
Below, all the information you need is presented before the Final Four takes way. Who reaches the National Title Game this year?
Gonzaga vs. South Carolina, Saturday @ 6:09 p.m.
Before this year’s tournament, both the schools of Gonzaga and South Carolina have never made a Final Four appearance. Now, Gonzaga is a team that many picked to be here. They were No. 1 in the country for most of the year, and have pro-talent throughout their roster. South Carolina, on the other hand, was a team that was picked to reach the Final Four in only 0.6 percent of brackets on ESPN.com. Only one 7 seed has ever won the National Title, and that was UConn back in 2014. South Carolina now seeks to be the second.
Keys to Gonzaga winning: If Gonzaga wants to win this one they must first shut down ACC player of the year Sindarius Thornwell. The Bulldogs rank 1st in national defensive efficiency according to Ken Pom metrics. Another key to success in this game is big man Przemek Karnowski. Standing at 7’1” and 300 pounds, Karnowski can make a difference down low, where South Carolina struggles.
Keys to South Carolina winning: One of the biggest keys for Frank Martin’s team thus far has been their swarming defense. Don’t expect many points in this game. The Gamecocks have been strict on defense, and especially the three ball. If South Carolina expects to win and advance, they need to get Thronwell the ball early. The guard has to be on fire in this game, as he has averaged 26 points in the tournament so far.
North Carolina vs. Oregon, Saturday @ 8:49 p.m.
Unlike the first game, this matchup will have no problem with points. Both UNC and Oregon have multiple options that can score, and who are currently hot. North Carolina is looking to head to their second straight Title game, after the team lost to Villanova last year. The experience is on UNC’s side here, as Roy Williams is entering 9th Final Four, while the school of Oregon hasn’t even been in one since 1939.
Keys to North Carolina winning: UNC can score with anyone. If this team gets transition points quick and early, it could be a long night for Oregon. Don’t forget last week’s hero, Luke Maye, has been getting better and better. The strengths of this Tar Heel team is their rebounding, three-point shooting, and experience. If they can capitalize on those aspects, North Carolina will win.
Keys to Oregon winning: Oregon has taken the most three-point shots in the tournament with 81, but they also have made over 43% of them. Coach Dana Altman cannot be overlooked here. Without his coaching this team would be not be anywhere near here. If the Ducks want to win they need to keep Tyler Dorsey hot. The sophomore guard had 27 points against Kansas in the Elite Eight. Don’t forget how good Jordan Bell has been. Bell had a tournament high 8 blocks last game. The key to beat UNC will be to shut down Justin Jackson, and finally get leading scorer Dillon Brooks back to normal.