Gonzaga, North Carolina a hefty NCAA title matchup

North Carolina, on the other hand, is one of the fastest teams in the country.

The men will follow suit against this Zags team which just won't have an answer for USC's defense and a man named Sindarius Thornwell, whose tourney mystique will just continue to grow.

The South Point sportsbook reported taking a $525,000 money-line bet this week on North Carolina to beat OR outright Saturday night, a wager at minus-210 odds that would net $250,000 if the Tar Heels prevail. Thornwell, who scored over 20 points in each of South Carolina's first four tournament games, just didn't show up late when the Gamecocks needed him most. They had trailed by at least seven points in six games it has come back to win this season. Thornwell made the first free throw, then intentionally missed the second, but SC failed to grab the rebound.

Led by the poise of point guard Nigel Williams-Goss and freshman center Zach Collins, Gonzaga turned its first trip to the Final Four into one big Zag party after beating SC 77-73 on Saturday.

Thornwell played through an illness and was limited offensively. "But when you've got fifth-year seniors across the board, like they do, they don't make mistakes".

South Carolina, in fact, was still within 75-72 and had two chances to possession with a chance to tie it up inside the final two minutes. Stopping Gonzaga is always going to be a challenge, but teams' struggle to execute their own game plan can be maddening.

The men fell short with nothing to be ashamed about.

Gonzaga looked as if it was going to run away from SC, as it had in the previous round against Xavier. SC goes into the half down nine points.

Gonzaga is listed as a seven-point favorite against SC with a 137.5-point total.

The SEC player of the year has been masterful and is the main reason the Cocks are still cock-a-doodle-doing in the Big Dance. Oregon's Dillon Brooks (24) looks down as he walks off the court after the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against North Carolina, Saturday, April 1, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.

South Carolina, in many ways, was fortunate to be as competitive as it was despite making just 37% in the first half and getting only five points (1-for-5 field goals) from Thornwell, who battled an illness earlier this week.

The Gamecocks are a great story and Sindarius Thornwell makes them unsafe. "They forced me to pass on my drives". "And just protecting the rim real well". That was really it.

"Obviously I'm bigger than 99.9 percent of the players in the NCAA", Karnowksi said.

"We had J3 (Williams) guarding him for a while".

Gonzaga point guard and Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss was the star of the game. Sometimes we switched him. "We had a nine-point lead and they got right back in", Vanderveer said. As we've seen on this run, they have several players - namely Dozier and Silva - who are capable of contributing in a major way offensively as well. So does the dream run for the Carolina Gamecocks.

"The outsiders consider it a Cinderella story", Thornwell said.

  • Julie Sanders