NCAA Basketball

NCAA Men’s Final Four Preview

After four rounds of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, not a single bracket remains perfect. Teams like Xavier, South Carolina, and Wisconsin were the bracket busters of this year’s tournament. Now that the Final Four has been set, let’s look at each teams’ chances of winning it all this year:

No. 1 Seed Gonzaga

Many people believed Gonzaga could be the team to win it all before the tournament began. This prediction was not far-fetched. Averaging about 72 points per game this tournament, the Bulldogs have shown what they can do. They have an average winning margin of almost 11 points throughout the four games they have played thus far. The only team that seemed to give them a run for their money was the No. 4 seeded Mountaineers, which they only beat by three points. This is the first Final Four appearance in program history for the Bulldogs. Although this could hurt the team’s odds of advancing to the championship, the way they have played in the tournament so far gives them a good possibility to do so. To do this, though, they must get passed a hot team in 7-seeded South Carolina.

No. 3 Seed Oregon

After losing a shot-blocking unicorn in Chris Boucher, Oregon was a team that was slept on before the start of the tournament. Impressive wins against Michigan and Kansas changed that. With its latest victory over Kansas, the Ducks have advanced to their first Final Four since 1939, which they went on to win the National Championship that year. They shot an outstanding 51 percent from the field in their win against the Jayhawks and look to continue their strong play in order to advance to their second National Championship game. When they lost one of their best players in Boucher before the tournament began, it made people count them out. However, Kavell Bigby-Williams stepped up big and has filled in, which has helped them make their run to the Final Four. To advance, they must keep their momentum going into their next game against a top-seeded team in North Carolina.

No. 7 Seed South Carolina

For the first time in program history, South Carolina has advanced to the Final Four after eight tournament appearances. Before the tournament and even throughout it, South Carolina flew under the radar as one of the teams to make a deep run. After a stunning win in the Round of 32 against Duke, they followed with huge wins over Baylor and Florida. The Gamecocks showed that they were here to stay when they 20-pieced Baylor in the Sweet 16. Now having to face a top-seeded Gonzaga, they must bring the same intensity and momentum if they want to advance to their first NCAA National Championship. This team can make history if they advance to the championship game.

No. 1 Seed North Carolina

After beating Kentucky in the Elite Eight, UNC now has made it to their 20th Final Four. With a fairly easy road to the Final Four with the exception of Kentucky, the Tar Heels beat teams by an average margin of 15 points. Roy Williams has been in this spot before, so a trip to the National Championship would be no surprise. Facing a red-hot team in the Ducks will definitely be a challenge but coach Williams has plenty of time to prepare. The Tar Heels have played really well thus far and it seems like nothing can stop them. After losing the National Championship last year at the buzzer, UNC is looking for vengeance. This game should be one for the books.

All four of these teams have a good chance of making the 2017 NCAA National Championship. The question is, who wants it more? Will it be the two top-seeded teams or will the underdogs make a statement? Only time will tell. This could be one of the better end of tournament games we have seen in a while.

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