Gonzaga vs. South Carolina
In the first matchup on Saturday night, top seeded Gonzaga squares off with tournament Cinderella South Carolina. This game is a fascinating matchup between two teams that are the opposite of one another. Sindarius Thornwell has been outstanding all tournament long and he will need another strong performance in order to keep his team in the game offensively. South Carolina will need to take the three-point line away from Gonzaga just like they did to Florida (7-26 from 3) in the Elite 8. The Gamecocks biggest strength is their pressure defense which is relentless for a full 40 minutes. They are a deep team that will go deep into the bench to maintain a level of aggression and physicality. Gonzaga has only lost once this season and has been spectacular in the tournament. Where they might find an issue is that their biggest weakness (rebounding) is a strength for South Carolina, they will need to rebound better to advance to the National Championship game. Center Przemek Karnowski is a key to Gonzaga, he is an impossible matchup if he gets the ball on the block, he will also need to hit the boards better than the 3 rebounds he got in the teams win over Xavier. South Carolina is a 6.5 point underdog. Would be a surprise if they won the game outright.
Oregon vs. UNC
Oregon was left for dead by many when they learned that starting center and three-point shooter Chris Boucher would be lost for the season. However, led by an experienced group they have kept winning games. Sophomore Tyler Dorsey has helped fill the void and been nothing short of spectacular. Guard Dillion Brooks has a lot of tournament experience and will be needed against a veteran UNC team. The Tar Heels have the interior advantage over every team in the country with big man Kennedy Meeks leading the way for a stacked UNC front line that will be a big matchup problem for the smaller Ducks. Guard Josh Jackson has been UNC’s most consistent player and he will have the ball in his hands late in games. He is an unorthodox player but a tough matchup for any team. Both teams play up tempo and it should be a fun game to watch. Oregon will have a tough time keeping pace with the deeper Tar Heels and the Heels should have a huge advantage on the interior should lead towards an easy UNC win.
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