A First Look at the Final Four

NCAA TOURNAMENT REPORT

Hold on, you say, someone you know actually nailed this NCAA Tournament Final Four on the head ... yeah, right!

It's more like you probably are sporting a bracket sheet without a single Final Four team still alive (hey, we had Duke, Arizona, Kansas and Kentucky and even that rather-chalky quartet all fell short of the promised land in Glendale!) but that's okay because there's still plenty to look forward to this weekend when getting ready for Saturday's Final Four showdowns between South Carolina versus Gonzaga and Oregon versus North Carolina ... and remember we'll be giving up all the "411" on all four teams all week long right here, so make sure you're along for the ride.

THE NCAA TOURNAMENT'S FINAL FOUR

Here's some quick-hitter looks at the Final Four teams as we point towards Saturday afternoon/evening:

EAST REGIONAL CHAMP - #7 SOUTH CAROLINA (26-10)
All the hype's surrounded the SC Gamecocks' stifling defense that's held its first four NCAA Tournament foes to a per-game average of just 68.5 points but the fact of the matter is Frank Martin's team stepped up the "O" in this March run with star Sindarius Thornwell (26 points and regional MVP in 77-70 win against Florida in the Elite 8 game) really showing major clutch abilities ... plus don't send this club to the foul line or they'll kill you!

NCAA TOURNAMENT GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS

DATE OPPSPREAD SCORE
3-17Marquette+ 193-73
3-19Duke+ 6.588-81
3-24Baylor+ 370-50
3-26Florida+ 377-70


WEST REGIONAL CHAMP - #1 GONZAGA (36-1)
Promise Zags' coach Mark Few we won't say a single thing about any "monkey on his back" but you could make the case that this West Coast Conference club will play loosey-goosey in this upcoming Final Four after all those "close calls". In fact, Gonzaga (an early 6.5-point favorite against South Carolina) played free-and-easy in last Saturday's 83-59 blowout win against 8.5-point pup Xavier as it drained 12-of-24 trifectas while Polish import C Przemek Karnowski could be "due" for a big game after totaling just 37 points and 15 rebounds in his first four tourney games.

NCAA TOURNAMENT GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS

DATE OPPSPREAD SCORE
3-16South Dakota St.- 2366-46
3-18Northwestern- 10.579-73
3-23West Virginia- 361-58
3-25Xavier- 8.583-59

MIDWEST REGIONAL CHAMP - #3 OREGON (33-5)
Safe to say these Ducks have made big-time believers of any/all past critics as the 14-point win against "host" Kansas this past Saturday night was one of the truly dominant Elite 8 showings we've ever seen from an underdog side. Okay, so Jordan Bell (11 points, 13 rebounds, 8 blocks) was literally everywhere and vets Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey (combined for 44 points against the Jayhawks) were simply fabulous and the sum has proven to be greater than all the parts, if you know what we mean!

NCAA TOURNAMENT GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS

DATE OPPSPREAD SCORE
3-17Iona- 15.593-77
3-19Rhode Island- 575-72
3-23MichiganPK69-68
3-25Kansas+ 6.574-60

SOUTH REGIONAL CHAMP - #1 NORTH CAROLINA (31-7)
All hail the Heels for making it to a 20th showing in the Final Four but ain't no way Roy Williams's club is gonna cut down the nets in the desert if they suffer through expanded dry spells on offense as was the case in that thrilling-yet-messy 75-73 win against Kentucky in Elite 8 action. Maybe PG Joel Berry II (just 3 assists in 33 minutes) will be good-to-go after injuring his other ankle last weekend but now the Saturday showdown with 4.5-point underdog Oregon will require all hands on deck when it comes to loose balls, long rebounds, etc. Is Carolina really athletic enough to handle this challenge and can new star Luke Maye (17 points in 20 minutes versus UK, including the game-winner of course) be a real prime-time player one mo' time?

NCAA TOURNAMENT GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS

DATE OPPSPREAD SCORE
3-17Texas Southern-26.5103-64
3-19Arkansas- 11.572-65
3-24Butler- 792-80
3-26Kentucky- 275-73