Final Four 2017: 5 bold predictions


North Carolina guard Joel Berry II says his injured ankles are at about 85 percent heading into Saturday's game against Oregon. North Carolina vs. OR is underway. He believed in their shooting abilities and thought that with those attractive uniforms and great play, that they would advance to the finals for the first time since 1939.

· OR is 6-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last seven NCAA tourney games as an underdog.

The Tar Heels picked up a 77-76 win Saturday night over the No. 3 seeded Oregon Ducks, moving one game away from their sixth NCAA basketball national title.

· OR is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 games as an underdog of 0.5-6.5 points.

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Meeks bulled his way to a far more meaningful rebound with only four seconds left after a madcap sequence in which four consecutive missed free throws by North Carolina led to two offensive rebounds in the game's final moments. "Me and Brooks were slow in the first half". The ACC player of the year is averaging 19.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in the tournament, but the more important numbers are 46.8 and 40.7. But as anyone who has ever come up just short of any goal knows, getting that close is soul crushing and makes you that much more determined to succeed the next time around.

For most of the proceedings, picture North Carolina like the big kid on the playground with OR trying like hell to get swings off, but the Tar Heels just held them at an arm's length for most of the game, and led the entire second half. Gonzaga, meanwhile, has been one of the tournament's mainstays, winning 21 games in the 18 consecutive years the Zags have reached the NCAA under Few. The Ducks also got 13 and 15 from big man Jordan Bell, who briefly left the game due to an injury late in the first half.

Williams-Goss missed a shot with 12.7 seconds left and SC rebounded and called a timeout trailing 75-72.

Theo Pinson followed with a three-pointer for UNC before Ennis scored back-to-back baskets to get the Ducks within 61-56. "I think everybody is just ready to play the game".

Gonzaga advances to NCAA championship
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few doesn't run much 6-on-5 or 5-on-4, but he will let his players hear it if they have defensive lapses. If the Gamecocks get through Gonzaga , though, there's no reason to think they can't beat the victor of North Carolina-Oregon.

"We have been working on it all week, just trying to find ways to exploit their defence", Gonzaga's Johnathan Williams said. The South Carolina defense is big and athletic, which West Virginia showed can cause problems for the Bulldogs. He left the court, went to the locker room to receive treatment and returned to the game later in the first half. It's hard to talk about it because my kids gave me everything they had, and the other team made a big-time play.

First things first. The Tar Heels (31-7) must defeat OR (33-5), the Pacific 12 Conference champion and Midwest Regional champ.

And when a reporter pointed out that Oregon's last trip to the Final Four in 1939 came long before Williams was born, Pinson chimed in with a sarcastic, "Really?!", as dig at Williams' age.

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