All the storylines you need to follow in NCAA's wild Final Four
- Author: Julie Sanders Mar 28, 2017,
Mar 28, 2017, 6:46
Along the way, they've made many look silly, including the For The Win writer who wrote about Duke's "ridiculously easy" path to the Final Four (and was mocked by the university's official Twitter account after SC beat Duke) and the separate For The Win writer who said the Gamecocks only won because the Blue Devils "were too easy to hate".
SC players celebrate after beating Florida. The Ducks in the Final Four for the first time since the first NCAA tournament in 1939, which they won.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have reached their first Final Four in program history, something that has been 18 years coming. SC (26-10), which was unranked two weeks ago and hadn't won an NCAA Tournament game since 1973, also made history, upsetting No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Baylor and No. 4 Florida. The 1-seed Bulldogs are playing like one of the best teams in the country, and they'll get what seems to be a favorable draw in 7th-seeded SC for the right to play in the title game. Five days from tip-off, here are four predictions you wouldn't expect in the Final Four. Those Ducks lost in the Elite Eight to Florida, which would win a second consecutive championship.
If there's any consolation for anyone, it's that the most popular champion pick, North Carolina, is still alive for 17 percent of players.
ESPN's Basketball Power Index (BPI) has Gonzaga as the heavy favorite to win the tournament, with a 55.3 percent chance to take the title.
Monk scored 47 points in Kentucky's 103-100 win over the Tar Heels on December 17 in Las Vegas.
Despite that fact, though, this particular run isn't anything out of the ordinary for the NCAA Tournament.
Why they'll win: They're a well-coached, talented team that just knocked off a team, Kansas, in a road-like atmosphere in Kansas City, Mo.
All three schools' coaches can finally drop the dubious "never been to a Final Four" title, too. They got off to an 8-0 start, including wins over ranked MI and Syracuse teams, while playing the rough and rugged signature defense that Martin's Kansas State teams were known for. This will be their 20th Final Four. Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss and Przemek Karnowski. It was all Gamecocks in the second half as Florida went 0-for-14 from the arc.
The Gamecocks are a great story but Gonzaga may be the better team.
When the buzzer sounded, South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell, the SEC player of the year and the region's most outstanding player, tossed the ball to the very top of the scoreboard at midcourt, a fitting end for the almost extinct power guard in this three-point era. You have to go back to 2001 to find the last time a school from the West not named UCLA made it.
North Carolina's victory over Kentucky, however, was considerably more dramatic, as the video below demonstrates. These are 19-year-olds, after all, and the Wildcats often frustratingly look like one of the youngest teams in the nation that they are.