March Madness reaches its crescendo this weekend. 68 teams started on the road to Phoenix, and now four remain. Of these four we have two number one seeds, two surprises and yet three teams competing in their first Final Four ever and one blue blood, blue chip program.
In this piece I will be breaking down the Final Four teams and the match ups albeit in brief, but if you like what you are reading, please comment and let me know.
On Saturday night we have the two semi-final matchups; South Carolina (7) v Gonzaga (1) followed by Oregon (3) v North Carolina (1).
South Carolina Gamecocks
However, Martin can coach defence and in the same vein of Rick Pitino's Louisville national title winning side of recent years, defence can get you further in a single-elimination format. They have defeated Marquette, Duke, Baylor and Florida, all teams with powerful offences that they have slowed down by being physical. Can they slow down Gonzaga who are as big and as powerful in a good match-up contest. Their own offensive efficiency despite Sindarius Thornwell's heroics might mean this is one game too far; yet they have showed that there is more to the SEC than just John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats.
The thing to fear of the Bulldogs is the stage itself, this is the first time these players would have played in a venue this size and the same applies to Few also. This is a stage Few and his team were made for, now he has to fulfil all the promise and handle the expectation, firstly to overcome the stellar South Carolina defence then who knows.
The Ducks can have offensive nights and can stop teams but can they do so against the Tar Heels who have modified their tempo from game to game, and who matchup well in the paint with them.
North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels have other game changers in Kennedy Meeks and Stilman White, while questions remain over the full fitness of Joel Berry who has an ankle injury. The Tar Heels unlike the other teams in the field, have more answers than questions hanging over them. If Jackson can be unleashed from defensive duties will the Ducks be able to handle a team that can easily score 70+, can the Ducks match that.
Final Four predictions
Gonzaga over South Carolina; North Carolina over Oregon
North Carolina defeat Gonzaga in a classic and Roy Williams is cutting down the nets.