NCAA March Madness bracket: 10 stats to know about Final Four teams
- Author: Julie Sanders Mar 28, 2017,
Mar 28, 2017, 10:19
Meanwhile, the other side of the fence features the offensive balance of the Gonzaga Bulldogs matched up against the nation's second-best defense in SC.
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Even when OR was gutting out wins over red-hot Rhode Island and MI, we still refused to believe that the Ducks posed any serious threat to a Kansas team that had been the tournament's most dominant through three rounds. So getting all four would have been pretty hard, and only 657 people on ESPN did just that (out of almost 19 million). Will North Carolina's wealth of experience in playing late into the NCAA Tournament be enough to give them an edge against the three remaining teams?
Apart from North Carolina, who avenged their heartbreaking loss with a last-second shot of their own Sunday against Kentucky to get into the semifinals, OR is the only other team in the Final Four to have reached this point, albeit with a single appearance to their name... back in 1939.
South Carolina's entire history in the NCAA Tournament could've been compiled on a cocktail napkin. "We're still going into that game thinking we can win - why not, why not us, why not go win it all?". None of the previous seven teams won the title.
In the other game on Sunday, Sindarius Thornwell scored 26 points and SC earned its first trip to the Final Four with a 77-70 victory over Florida on Sunday. If Oregon ends its season by bumping its win total to 35, they'll all say they should have seen it coming.
I mean, when a school some have forever insisted would never make a Final Four finally making the Final Four is among the least surprising things, you have, by definition, a surprising Final Four. Problem is, there was seemingly always a bigger team from a bigger conference standing in the way of that program - from a campus of 7,400 in Spokane, Washington - taking the final step. Seeded second the year before, Gonzaga couldn't hang with No. 1 Duke and lost by 14 in the Elite Eight. "And each year we got better and better, and then we got really, really good".
They have spent the previous year seeing their nightmare finish to the 2016 tournament replayed on an endless loop of highlight shows and March Madness videos.