To say that the draws of the NCAA Tournament have been rather kind to the teams remaining in the Final Four would be a bit of an understatement. To take anything away from Gonzaga, North Carolina, Oregon or South Carolina, however, would be an injustice as well.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs (+150) have more or less picked up a dream draw. Sure, they had what probably amounted to be the toughest 1 vs. 8 game, as well as the toughest 1 vs. 4 game in the field, but there was never a point that they should have been beaten by either Northwestern or West Virginia.
Playing Xavier in the Elite Eight Was a Gift
Now, the Zags are going to get the South Carolina Gamecocks (+600) in the Final Four in Glendale, a game that’s reminiscent to that Xavier game over the weekend.
The Musketeers felt like they put everything they had getting to that point and just ran out of gas, and the same very well might be said for the Gamecocks, too. They opened as 7-point underdogs against the Bulldogs for Saturday’s matchup at BookMaker.eu.
South Carolina’s New Hero, Sindarius Thornwell.
Thornwell has joined the rare club of players who have scored 100 points in the first two weeks of the NCAA Tournament, and he’s put an offense on his back that rarely scored beyond 75 points during the regular season.
Now, South Carolina has four straight performances in the 70+ range, including posting a new school record of 65 points in the second half against Duke in the Round of 32.
The Gamecocks may have gotten a bit of a nice draw by avoiding Villanova in the Elite Eight, but the Florida team was darn good, and having to come back by 10 points against Duke was no easy task.
North Carolina Is Still a Favorite
On the other side of the bracket, the North Carolina Tar Heels (+160) are easily favored to reach the National Championship for the second straight season. This is a real testament to the job Roy Williams has done with this team to clinch two straight Final Fours, as well as the opportunity to play for the title in consecutive seasons.
The Heels did exactly what they should have done to get here. They struggled at times with both Arkansas and Butler, but in the end, they made the biggest shots that mattered down the stretch.
And to think that Luke Maye is the biggest hero in Chapel Hill right now? That’s perhaps the greatest accomplishment of them all.
The Ducks Aren’t Far Behind
Don’t count out the Oregon Ducks (+400) either. There’s no two ways around it: Oregon got a dreamy draw through the first three rounds of the tourney, too. The Ducks played a No. 7, a No. 11, and a No. 14 to get into the second weekend of the dance, but when they got there, they did something impressive!
Kansas was a great-looking team at the time, and it always figured to find a way to exploit a team that didn’t have Chris Boucher in the lineup.
Jordan Bell was remarkable, coming up with 11 points, 13 rebounds, eight blocks and four assists to dismiss the Jayhawks by a comfortable 14 points.
The Ducks opened as 4-point dogs against the mighty Tar Heels.
Odds to win the March Madness
- Gonzaga +150
- North Carolina +160
- Oregon +400
- South Carolina +600
(Odds courtesy of Bookmaker.eu as of March 27, 2017)