March Madness has given us a clear path to Arizona, baby! The Final Four is all set.
Gonzaga sent a message to the naysayers who claimed that their WCC schedule did not prepare them for the NCAA tournament. The Zags beat Florida, Iowa State, Arizona and Saint Mary’s three times and that was impressive enough for me. Mark Few is finally in the Final Four and this team is not finished making noise.
Few has done a great job blending in transfers to form a cohesive unit. Nigel Williams-Goss from Washington, Jordan Matthews from California and Jonathan Williams from Missouri have been part of Transfer U.
Oregon lost shot-blocker Chris Boucher to a late-season injury and many experts thought the Ducks would fall apart. Dana Altman’s team proved it could play, beating Kansas in Kansas City to reach the Final Four. Jordan Bell was a shot-blocker and double-double guy. Tyler Dorsey had seven straight games with 20 or more points. Dillon Brooks has performed well
inside and outside. The defense held the Jayhawks to 1-for-15 on three-pointers in the second half of the regional final.
South Carolina may be the true Cinderella as a 7th seed in the Final Four. Frank Martin’s team has improved its offense in the NCAA tournament and came through down the stretch in the East regional final against Florida. The Gators did not make a single three-pointer in the second half of that contest and the Gamecocks continue their tenacious defense.
Sindarius Thornwell continues to show why he is so vital. The SEC Player of the Year puts up big numbers in leading the Gamecocks.
Few, Altman and Martin are coaching in their first Final Four. The fourth participant, Roy Williams, has cut down the nets as a national champion before. His Tar Heels edged Kentucky in the South regional final in Memphis.
Luke Maye has become an unsung hero for the Tar Heels. He hit the winning shot against the Wildcats. Justin Jackson and Joel Berry are one of the best backcourts in college basketball and they want to make up fror last season’s last-second loss to Villanova in the national title game.