Final Four teams begin preparations for semis in Arizona

"The East Coast is much different from the West Coast; no one really cares about professional sports on the East Coast, and North Carolina especially is all about college basketball".

No one begrudges him his success.

The Oregon Ducks have finally ended a tortuous drought - they're in the Final Four for the time since 1939, which was the inaugural year of the event. We've got old blood in North Carolina, hitting their 20th Final Four in program history. I'm just going out there trying to help my team win as best I can. "At the end of the day, when it all shakes out, he'll be one of the Mount Rushmore-types in college coaching". "Kavell (Bigby-Williams) is going to have to play awfully well". "North Carolina was a little loose with the ball against Kentucky and if they're that loose with the ball against Oregon, Oregon's going to beat them".

But that changed Saturday evening, when the third-seeded Oregon Ducks men's basketball team defeated top-seeded Kansas 74-60 in the Midwest Regional final in Kansas City, Missouri.

Still, it was a hard decision for him to leave Kansas, where he coached 15 years. "There's class to it". The University of OR won the first NCAA Basketball tournament in 1939 months before the New York World's Fair opened and The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind premiered in theaters.

North Carolina is favored by 5 points, and hardly anyone is picking the Ducks to win this game. "He has outstanding teams, year-in and year-out". Freshman phenom Malik Monk would drain a three pointer for the Wildcats, which evened the score at 73 all with just seconds to play.

"He came here to support me and we've been friends a long time", Rudolph said. "I think they would have been a tough matchup for Kansas too".

And then there is North Carolina. With some of those players still on the roster, they have been itching to get back to this point.

That enables him to coach players who fit his system instead of fitting his system around the players he manages to persuade to play for UNC. That is unfair to North Carolina.

"After they beat West Virginia, (Gonzaga coach Mark Few) said it was the most physical game they've been in all year, but he said, 'Hey, we're physical, too.' That game's going to help them against SC". Although most of their numbers don't stand out on paper, SC is eighth in turnover margin.

But, with all due apologies to the lifelong Tar Heels fans living and dying with their team like the rest of us, no reasonable person should be rooting for North Carolina at the Final Four this weekend.

They can do this by blitzing the Tar Heels from the outside and forcing them to play a small-ball lineup, which OR is capable of doing. "If you think about it, they've played (three) straight pretty good games offensively, and I don't know if you can find that at any point in time throughout the whole year".

"If we can have a different ending than we did a year ago, there's no question it will feel great". But we're not playing the arena. He's in it to win it. He was a 1st team high school, all-American.

That can be a slight edge, and perhaps it's more of an edge in a year like this than others.

Or at least it should. "When we get to Saturday I should be close to 100 percent". I think the guys are more conscious of it. If Thornwell and Dozier remain hot and get the support they need from others in the rotation, the Gamecocks can advance. "He's enjoying it, but he's a really humble guy, a great player".

"I bet you this right now", Barnes said. Williams was asked about his Southern slang and ended his answer with "I'm just being Roy".

  • Julie Sanders