Updated March Madness 2017 Bracket: UNC advances to Final Four
- Author: Joanne Flowers Mar 28, 2017,
Mar 28, 2017, 3:48
Whichever description you prefer, it'll be the Pacific Northwest vs. the Carolinas in the Final Four of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
The one Final Four mainstay, of course, is North Carolina, the No. 1 seed out of the South region and last year's championship runner-up. In a insane final sequence, Kentucky tied the game at 73, before one last basket from Luke Maye put away the win for the Tar Heels.
The first two weeks of the NCAA tournament are in the books and the final four teams have officially been determined. Berry's going to play through whatever ails him and North Carolina's overall length and size down low has been good enough to keep them in the game through offensive droughts.
That's still not too bad considering the Gamecocks were a +20000 to win the national title back in November. Since it was also the school's first Elite Eight appearance, they'll be making new history for the program with each victory. This Gamecocks defense is one of the most frustrating and stifling defenses imaginable; they're so physical and relentless they wear down opponents mentally by the second half, which is usually when SC mounts its comebacks - or puts away foes. "It's not something that you start dreaming the year you win 25 games".
Now the Gamecocks and their defensive skills are off to Phoenix on Saturday for a national semifinal matchup with No. 1 seed Gonzaga. The championship game is scheduled for Monday, April 3.
North Carolina emerged as the champion of a loaded ACC and deservedly snagged a one seed for the NCAA Tournament.
The luck of the draw: Gonzaga has been a terrific program for a long time, and many around the country understandably are glad to see the well-liked Few and his team get to compete on the college game's ultimate stage. The Tar Heels passed tight tests against Arkansas and Kentucky, handled Texas Southern and Butler, and have the experience needed to hoist the hardware. They ranked high in the preseason polls, but an early-season injury to star Dillon Brooks derailed the Ducks during non-conference play.
Gonzaga players celebrate after beating Xavier.
Gamecocks coach Frank Martin was joyful and emotional after the game, as the magnitude of his team's accomplishment began to sink in.