March Madness

2017-NCAAB-March Madness-Gonzaga defeated in the finals,North Carolina are the new champions

Gonzaga broke through its Final Four ceiling, added to it by reaching the national championship game. The Zags figured while they’re here, might as well win the whole thing. A flurry of whistles and missed shots left them one step short. Plagued by foul trouble and an inability to hit shots in a foul-filled second half, Gonzaga lost its bid for the program’s first national championship in an ugly 71-65 loss to North Carolina on Monday night. ”I don’t think any of us think we played our absolute best game and that hurts,” Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss said. The Zags reached the big stage with the best team in Mark Few’s 18 seasons, a mix of established players, talented transfers and a sterling recruiting class. Gonzaga was efficient on offense, as it always seems to be, and added a dash of gritty defense, the piece that had always been Read More

2017-NCAAB-March Madness-NC and Gonzaga to battle for the NCAA title

North Carolina and Gonzaga play Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. Tipoff is set for about 6:20 p.m. local time, 9:20 p.m. EDT. The final pits two of the most elite teams in college hoops against one another: both the Tar Heels and the Bulldogs boast top-level coaches, guards and interior players. Down low, Gonzaga’s 7-foot-1, 300-pound Przemek Karnowski faces North Carolina’s 6-10, 260-pound Kennedy Meeks. Meeks had a career game in the Final Four against Oregon with 25 points. Gonzaga also has Zach Collins, a 7-foot freshman who could be a one-and-done player. North Carolina coach Roy Williams is chasing a third title is his fourth championship game. Gonzaga coach Mark Few had never made the Final Four before this season, but has taken the Zags in all 18 years he’s led.

2017-NCAAB-March Madness- USA expects the final 4 teams to finish the madness

South Regional Final No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (-2 ½) vs. No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats (159 ½) Venue: FedEx ForumLocation: Memphis, TennesseeTV-Time: CBS, 5:05 p.m. ET In a year when many surprising guests have invaded the Elite Eight, there’s nothing shocking about the schools that’ll square off Sunday in the South Region finals at FedEx Forum in Memphis. That would be North Carolina and Kentucky. UK is in its 57th NCAA Tournament and is looking to make its 18th Final Four appearance. Meanwhile, UNC is in its 48th Tourney, hoping to go to its 20th Final Four. As of late Saturday night, most books had North Carolina installed as a 2.5-point favorite with the total in the 159-160 range. The Wildcats were available on the money line for a +125 return (risk $100 to win $125). These storied programs have only met three times in the NCAA Tournament, but all Read More

2017-NCAAB-March Madness-Sunday night games

The Gamecocks sure picked the right time for their most prolific offensive game of the season. After being held to 53 points by Alabama to flame out in the SEC Tournament, they beat that mark by 40 in a 93-73 rout of Marquette that helped pick up the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 1973. This is a program that lost as a No. 2 seed in ’97, only the third time that had happened, before falling as a No. 3 the next season. The crowning moment in program history would be winning an NIT title. So, yes, eliminating Duke in an NCAA Tournament would indeed become South Carolina basketball’s crowning achievement. Can they do it? Well, the location definitely helps. Greenville is just 100 miles form Columbia and will also be filled with Tar Heels eager to join in on wishing rival Duke the worst possible outccome. Whether UNC Read More

2017-NCAAB-March Madness-Full preview before the showtime

The four No. 1 seeds are Gonzaga (West Region), Kansas (Midwest), Villanova (East) and North Carolina (South). The picks of the Bulldogs, Jayhawks and Wildcats were no-brainers, but some felt that Arizona and Duke had cases to be ahead of the Tar Heels, who lost to Duke twice, including Saturday’s setback in the ACC Tournament semifinals. Meanwhile, Sean Miller’s team beat Oregon on Saturday night to win the Pac-12 Tournament. Speaking of the Ducks, they lost starting center Chris Boucher to a torn ACL in Las Vegas this past weekend. That fact prompted the Selection Committee to drop Oregon to a No. 3 seed when it was probably slated for a No. 2 seed before the injury. Boucher was averaging 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Villanova is a top seed for the third time in school history. The Wildcats are looking to repeat as national champions Read More

2016-NCAAB-March Madness-End of the Madness with a MAD buzzer beater

The Villanova junior answered a double-clutch, game-tying 3-pointer by North Carolina’s Marcus Paige with a buzzer-beating 3 of his own Monday night to lift the Wildcats to a 77-74 victory and the national championship. One good shot deserved another. And Jenkins wasn’t about to be outdone. ”I think every shot’s going in,” he said, ”and this one was no different.” The shot came on a play Villanova works on every day in practice: Jenkins inbounds the ball to Ryan Arcidiacono, he works it up court and forward Daniel Ochefu sets a pick near halfcourt to clutter things up, then Arcidiacono creates. This time, the senior point guard made an underhanded flip to Jenkins, who spotted up a pace or two behind the arc and swished it with Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks running at him. Or, as Jenkins put it: ”One, two step, shoot `em up, sleep in the streets.” Jenkins had Read More

2016-NCAAB-March Madness-Villanova vs North Carolina for the end of the Madness

Villanova and North Carolina cruised to easy victories Saturday in perhaps the most boring set of national-semifinal games in the NCAA Tournament’s storied history. Not boring because of ‘Nova or UNC, however, just uneventful in the way they coasted to blowout wins over Oklahoma and Syracuse, respectively. Jay Wright’s team went five years without playing beyond the first weekend of the Tournament, but it will play for the national title Monday night for the first time since Rollie Massimino’s team led by Ed Pinckney shocked Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in the 1985 finals at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. Roy Williams is seeking to join an elite group of head coaches who have three or more national titles to their credit. That group includes John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Bobby Knight, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Calhoun. This is Williams’s fifth trip to the Monday night game in his career. He took Read More

2016-NCAAB-March Madness-Final Four-North Carolina vs Syracuse game preview

North Carolina is the last No. 1 seed left standing in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Syracuse in the first No. 10 seed to ever advance to the Final Four, getting to Houston after losing five of its last six games that had it extremely anxious on Selection Sunday. When the ‘Cuse’s name appeared on the board, CBS Sports’s Doug Gottlieb immediately exclaimed, “What?!” Nevertheless, Jim Boeheim has his program in its fifth Final Four of his 40-year tenure, seeking a second national title. The Orange beat Roy Williams’s Kansas team to cut down the nets in the 2003 NCAA Finals. Williams is in his eighth Final Four and is hoping to bag a third national title, which would elevate him into elite company. The only coaches with three or more national titles are John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Mike Krzyzewski, Bobby Knight and Jim Calhoun. The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas Read More

2016-NCAAB-March Madness-Final Four-Oklahoma vs Villanova game preview

For the first time since 2009, Villanova (33-5 straight up, 19-17 against the spread) advanced past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament two weeks ago. With that monkey off its back, Jay Wright’s squad proceeded to beat Miami and Kansas to land in Houston for the 2016 Final Four. Oklahoma, another No. 2 seed like ‘Nova, came out of the West Region by beating top-seeded Oregon this past Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim. In doing so, Lon Kruger is back in the national semifinals for the first time since taking Florida to the 1994 Final Four in Charlotte. The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas opened Villanova as a two-point favorite with a total of 149 points. By Sunday afternoon, the tally had been adjusted all the way down to 146.5. The number for the side hasn’t budged whatsoever, but the ‘under’ was down to 145 by Wednesday. Villanova Read More

2016-NCAAB-March Madness-Final Four betting trends and preview

It is a great week for sports fans with the start of baseball, the NBA stretch run, the Final Four and the culmination of the college basketball season next Monday at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas for the national championship. It’s clear that it’s not the teams the start the season hot, but the ones that get hot when it really matters — March and April! Many things happen over the course of a long season. Some teams play great basketball in December and January, only to break down from injuries or run out of steam down the stretch. Iowa started 20-5 until the offense and defense started to struggle in late game situations, dropping six of eight down the stretch (1-7 against the spread run). A year ago North Carolina started 17-4 but as February started the Tar Heels showed vulnerability, losing 6 of 10. It works the other Read More