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And then there were four

Wyatt and Henry predict Saturday's college hoops results

Ben Wyatt and Jared Henry, Maroon Tribune Reporters

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Wyatt’s Picks For The Final Four

 

1 Gonzaga vs. 7 South Carolina

In what will be a showdown of very good defenses, I see Gonzaga ending South Carolina’s Cinderella run in the tournament. With both schools playing their first Final Four games in school history, expect the game to start off at a fairly fast pace, but then slow down as the nerves settle. Gonzaga will look to dominate in the paint like it has for most of the season with senior Przemek Karnowski leading the charge from the post. Also look for a strong performance for the Zags from the emerging star Nigel William-Goss, a transfer student from The University of Washington. Williams-Goss is leading the team in points per game and assists per game and is the primary ball handler for Gonzaga.

South Carolina has made a strong run in the tournament and it has relied heavily on the excellent play Sindarius Thornwell. He has averaged just under 26 points per game during the tournament and is a force defensively. It will be interesting to see how he will fair against the size and depth that Gonzaga possesses inside, and the Gamecocks will live and die on his play.

Gonzaga wins 68-61

 

1 UNC vs. 3 Oregon

Expect this game to be a polar opposite of the first game of the day. UNC and Oregon both have electric playmakers and scorers on offense, and both will likely look to score in transition. UNC has much more tournament experience than Oregon and will be returning to the Final Four after a heartbreaking loss in the final last year to Villanova. Oregon will be playing in their first final four game since winning the tournament the year it began in 1939, but I still expect their stars to show up and play well in this game. Oregon Senior Dillon Brooks has hit two game winning buzzer-beaters this season so look for him to shine in the big moments. Tyler Dorsey has led Oregon in scoring during the tournament scoring 24.5 points per game including a three pointer sealing the win against the University of Rhode Island.

UNC has no shortage of talent with players that excel on both ends of the court. Although managing wins in games against Arkansas and Kentucky in the tournament, they had to fight the last few minutes of each game to end up on top. In the game against Arkansas, UNC finished the game on a 10-0 run to pull out the victory after blowing a sizeable first half lead. The game against Kentucky had a similar feel as Kentucky made a late game run to tie the game after being down seven with under a minute left. UNC went on to win on a shot with under a second left but both games leave question to how UNC will finish games as the tournament continues.

In a tightly contested game I predict Oregon to make a shot in the final seconds to take the lead and move on to the National Championship Game.

Oregon wins 84-83

 

Henry’s Picks For The Final Four

 

1 Gonzaga vs. 7 South Carolina

My prediction for this game is South Carolina over Gonzaga because of the strong defense they have shown throughout the tournament so far. They have proven to be a force to reckoned with after completing back to back to back upsets. Many brackets (including mine) didn’t even even have them beating Marquette in the first round. After advancing to the next round, they had to face the deadly Duke Blue devils who were ranked number 2 in the east. South Carolina also has the SEC player of the year on their team, Sindarius Thornwell. In the season so far, he has averaged 21.6 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. This shows no one will be able to stop this team on a roll.

South Carolina wins 73-68

 

1 UNC vs. 3 Oregon

Every year there are several upsets that will end up breaking everyone’s bracket except this year there are two. Oregon is another team that you couldn’t predict making it even to the elite eight, yet they defied all odds and ended up making it all the way to final four. Sadly, I believe this is the end of their fairytale season. North Carolina is a scary team to play against. Ranked number 1 for a reason, North Carolina has proven year after year why they deserve to be ranked so high. They have no fears or nervousness as this not their first rodeo so deep in the tournament. Oregon will start off strong but won’t come out with a win this time.  

North Carolina wins 84-67

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Celebrating the Spirit and News of Monument Mountain
And then there were four