Here we are. days away from the Final Four. UNC versus Oregon. Gonzaga versus South Carolina. Like everyone’s favorite porno’s, the plots are THICK and your boy Taylor is here to break them down.

We’ll start the game I’m most excited about – my UNC Tar Heels against the Oregon Ducks. A blue blooded college program led by thoroughbred head coach Roy Williams, against the Oregon Ducks, a team that I never really seemed to care for in College Basketball – all of a sudden a contender, playing some GREAT basketball.

First, Oregon. Where the hell did Dillon Brooks come from? Was this kid a Player of the Year candidate all year or is he just now exploding? I saw a CBS Sports article that didn’t have him in the Top 20 of candidates on February 1st, so I’m going to guess the latter.

Regardless, this Oregon team is just that – a really well put together TEAM. They got Jordan Bell down low who can block every shot he’s around. He sort of reminds me of a young Hakim Warrick (God, I hope his NBA career is better though), as well as Tyler Dorsey who just scores at will. Oregon absolutely is the real deal and if they’re on, North Carolina may be on their way out.

Dillon Brooks Oregon

On to the thoroughbreds – the North Carolina Tar Heels. Every year this team is at the top of your brackets. If they’re not, THAT is the outlier year.  This year is really no different. Despite SEVEN losses, they were still a #1 seed and for good reason. They’re battle tested and they seem to have just some great players all around. This team is really well rounded.

Now, just like Oregon, UNC boasts a few big names that are going to make noise – Berry, Pinson, Meeks, etc. But the one guy I have really grown a liking for is Justin Jackson. This kid has the length and seems to open be this quiet presence on the court. A calm leader. He gets fired up and when the team seems this it seems to get them all going, but he’s often very reserved looking. Like a duck on a pond. Still up top, underwater though, there’s a lot going on.

Justin Jackson UNC

So who do I have? I sincerely flip a coin here. I think UNC will get its buckets, make its stops and score ROUGHLY 70 points. If Oregon is on, they’ll win. If they get a run at the right time towards the end of the game, they’ll win. But if they don’t, the steady Eddy thoroughbreds from Chapel Hill will move on.

Taylor takes the Heels.

Next we have the other #1 seed. VERY different in how they’re viewed however. This is not a team that was respected coming in, ESPECIALLY for a team that lost ONE game all season long. The best seeded team Gonzaga beat this tournament was Press Virginia, and I can’t get all fired up over beating a team that only beat Bucknell by 6 points (despite my love for the Bison).

I think Gonzaga is really good – they have some great size down low and I think they too can beat anyone… They got this far on a pretty easy road to the title (# of seeds beaten: 16, 8, 4, 11) and will continue an “easy” seed against the #7 Gamecocks.

Przemek Karnowski Gonzaga

Now the pride of the SEC – the South Carolina Gamecocks. They have caught absolute fire and gone through a tough road to get where they are. #2 Duke & Coach K? Check. #3 Baylor? Done. SEC rival and #4 seeded Florida? On to the next. They keep setting the Gamecocks up and they keep knockin’ em down.

This team just has that Cinderella story feel to it. They don’t belong here but here we are. March 29th with two days to go before the Final Four, and the Gamecocks are one of the last standing! I think Sindarius Thornwell is a good player playing out of his mind, but I’m afraid if, and when, the game is slipping away from him, he’ll try to do too much. He seems like that kind of player.

South Carolina v Duke

Who do I got?

Zags by 10+. I don’t know why, maybe I think the momentum for South Carolina will have slowed down by then and Gonzaga will roll them. At some point this #7 will start playing like they are ranked and blow it. It’s awesome they came this far, but I see the wheels coming off here.

So there it is. As boring a prediction as you can make. Two #1’s in the finals. I 1,000%  believe this to be the truth and we’ll see the new kids on the block against one of the most elite programs in NCAA history for the National Championship.

 

 

Jesuits & Heels,
@WCS_Taylor