Tag Archives: South Carolina Gamecocks

Just Four Remain

Four are left standing in this ultimate elimination cage match that is the NCAA tournament. North Carolina, South Carolina, Gonzaga and Oregon all head to Phoenix for the chance to reign as supreme ruler of the NCAA basketball realm.

Alas the final four is set, and we are in for a doozy of games. But let’s first look at a couple things from the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games.

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We saw LaVar Ball’s oldest son, Lonzo, basically no show the biggest game of his career for UCLA, and we saw essentially what will get De’Aaron Fox a seat at the draft. Fox outplayed Ball and helped Kentucky punch their ticket to a rematch with UNC.

What I thought was the game of the year had the finish of the year as well. Malik Monk hits a highly contested three which led to former walk-on Luke Maye hitting the 2 point jumper to punch the Heel’s ticket to the Final 4.

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Oregon in the Midwest had Kansas Jayhawk on the menu in the Elite 8. They had their Jayhawks smoked, and Tyler Dorsey had himself 27 points on the night. Ducks star Dillon Brooks had his hefty helping with 17 points as well.

This duo could just be getting started, as Brooks is just a junior and Dorsey is a sophomore. Dorsey is looking like the tourney MVP for the Ducks, having 4 straight games with 20 points, 2 of those games were 27 point nights. The Ducks might want to lean on Dorsey then go to Brooks in the waning moments.

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I have been a Gonzaga hater this entire season and probably always will be. But I will give it up for the Zags, they have proved their worth to me. The absolutely destroyed Xavier, but still got away with highway robbery against Northwestern. Their Sweet 16 game with WVU was a great one, Jordan Mathews had ice in his veins when he drained that 3 ball. Happy for Mark Few, he finally got to the big one.

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 11.34.03 AMAnd then there is the Cinderella story, the South Carolina Gamecocks. They have beaten a 2, 3 and a 4 seed this tournament. Duke, Baylor and Florida have all been pecked to death by Carolina. One thing is for sure, Sindarius Thornwell can sure play. He has been nothing short of spectacular. South Carolina is now faced with Gonzaga, and can complete the sweep of a top 4 seed grouping.

So let’s start there, Carolina comes in the 7 seed and are playing unbelievably. The contrasting styles, the depth, and the guard play are three things that are going pivotal in this tilt. Thornwell is going to have to be the best player on the court. Nigel Williams-Goss is going to oppose him, and that’s got to be an exciting matchup. I am biting the bullet and sticking with the Cinderella, give me South Carolina in a great one.

Now to the other side of the bracket with Oregon and North Carolina, I am going to be short and sweet with this one. I like Carolina and I like Carolina big. The redemption they are looking for is going to be found here. They are too deep for Oregon, and have too many weapons. After what Luke Maye and Theo Pinson were able to do in the last game, they are just the next guys up. Before them they have Joel Berry and Justin Jackson. Brooks and Dorsey put up a fight, but it’s not enough.

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So the final will be a battle of the Carolinas. The redemption bid against the Cinderella story out of nowhere. Justin Jackson has his career defining game as the Heels win and get their redemption. Thornwell will have himself a night, but will not be able to get the job done. “The Ceiling is the roof”, or whatever MJ said will come to fruition. The Heels will not be denied this time around, Justin Jackson wins MOP.

“Wow, what a finish.” will be said by all.

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Sweet and Elite

Wow. What a slew of games that we saw last week as a 1 and a couple of 2 seeds fell in this NCAA tournament. Villanova, Duke and Louisville all packed their bags early, heading back to their schools disappointed and ashamed.

Wisconsin, South Carolina and Michigan all have crashed the party and they did it in both dramatic and convincing fashion. We also have a clash of the titans in the south region, as seeds 1 through 4 all made it to the Sweet 16.

So let’s break down these sweet 16 games, and I will also give you my new picks for the final 4, since I had Duke in my final, my bracket is a bit busted. Here we go, let’s start up in the East.

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(8) Wisconsin vs (4) Florida

This is a great game that we would see in the Capital One Bowl during the college football season. Wisconsin led by Seniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes have brought Wisconsin back to the big time with their play in the first two games.  The Badgers have beaten Virginia Tech in a close one, and upset Villanova by 3 in a thriller.

Florida beat ETSU by 15 then smoked Virginia by 26. The Gators have been led by Junior forward Devin Robinson. Robinson has been a big time player for the Gators in this tournament. It’s an awesome matchup, and a tough one to pick. But I like Wisconsin in this one, that Senior leadership of Nigel Hayes is what will do it.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.11.15 AM.png(7) South Carolina vs (3) Baylor

I had neither of these teams in the Sweet 16, my matchup was USC-Duke. Boy I was wrong. Let me say this, I am not a Baylor Bear believer, but Jonathan Motley has been a force this year for the Bears. He is making me contemplate changing my mind about them. Baylor walked by NMSU by a bunch and squeaked by USC by 4.

South Carolina smoked Marquette by 20, and then took out Duke by 7. The Gamecocks led by Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, had plenty of scoring in their game with Duke. The Gamecocks had 5 fellas in double figures, 4 with fifteen points or more. I like South Carolina, they’re coming off the impressive win against Duke, and I think if Thornwell gets hot early, then it will be a long night for the Bears.

So the Elite 8 game would pit (7) South Carolina vs (8) Wisconsin, let’s stick with the Badgers to the Final 4. Hayes and Koenig led them back to the kingdom and they’re back as one of the prime teams in the Big 10.

EAST WINNER: (8) WISCONSIN

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(4) West Virginia vs (1) Gonzaga

Gonzaga is in this game because the NCAA didn’t want them bowing out early again. That game against Northwestern was officiated horribly . I think Bob Huggins will coach West Virginia and put Gonzaga coach Mark Few’s mind into a pretzel. The duo of Jevon Carter and Nathan Adrien are what will put the Mountaineers over the top in this one. The Zags aren’t as good as people think they are. If I am wrong, I will admit that. But give me WVU and convincingly.

654271336(11) Xavier vs (2) Arizona

I give Xavier all the credit in the world. They have beaten elite teams night in and night out. The Musketeers first took out Melo Trimble and Maryland then Dwayne Bacon and Florida State, now they get Arizona led by Allonzo Trier. Arizona has blown out North Dakota and slipped by St Mary’s. But this game could be a big one, if Xavier plays to their true potential, then I think they put up a fight. But then again, led by Trier and Lauri Markkanen, the Wildcats could blow this game into the stratosphere and it’ll be over at halftime. I like Arizona by at least 10.

My winner of the Elite 8 game of WVU and Arizona is going to be Arizona. I think Nathan Adrien will get into foul trouble early, and that could crush the hopes of WVU. They’ll close the deficit but Trier and company will be just too much.

WEST WINNER: (2) ARIZONA

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(5) Purdue vs (1) Kansas

Kansas may be the most complete team in this region with Frank Mason and Joshua Jackson. Jackson has had big tournament with big play after big play. Kansas should get their first true test with the Boilermakers on Thursday night.

Caleb Swanigan and Vince Edwards are the duo who I think could give the Jayhawks their toughest match-up in the tourney thus far. Swanigan has at least a double-double a game and Edwards has dropped 20. This could mean Landon Lucas and Devonte Graham will need to be huge for the Jayhawks.

Who’s my pick? I like Kansas by 7 or 8, much closer game than the 2 previous match-ups for Kansas, but I do reserve the right to say if Josh Jackson heats up early, this one could be a double-digit blowout.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.14.35 AM.png(7) Michigan vs (3) Oregon

This game is the biggest one in the career of Dillon Brooks. This game is the legacy game I think for the guard. Brooks and company will face a Michigan team that will have overcome basically every obstacle in their way.

But do the Ducks have someone that can stop Moritz Wagner? I don’t think so, it will be one of those big man on one side and a guard on the other side games. Brooks got help from the other guard Tyler Dorsey against Rhode Island, and he will need all the help he can get in this one. Michigan on the other hand has won a majority of their games in the second half, if they wait that long, they will be blown away. I just flipped a coin and I like the Ducks by 2.

I think Kansas walks out of the Midwest. They boast way too much firepower. Jackson and Mason will eat the Oregon duo alive.

MIDWEST WINNER: (1) KANSAS

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(4) Butler vs (1) UNC

I won’t lie, I think this game comes down to the possible match-up of Kelan Martin for Butler and Justin Jackson for UNC. I think Jackson is most likely the most underrated player in the entire country and Kelan Martin is the most unnamed good player in the country.

Butler needs Martin to take over this game from buzzer to buzzer.  Then again, the starting five that UNC trots out is arguably the best in the nation. After a scare from Arkansas, I don’t think the Heels fool around with Butler, and escape with a 5 or 6 point win.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 10.16.17 AM.png(3) UCLA vs (2) Kentucky

The rematch we did not think we would get to see. Bruins vs. Wildcats was a thriller earlier this season, with the Bruins leaving Rupp Arena with a win. The Monk-Fox tag-team will have to be at its utmost best from start to finish. This could be the game of the tournament, a true matchup of stars that could give us another rematch. My big pick was Kentucky and I’m sticking with it. The Cats win by 8 as Lonzo Ball has an off game, and TJ Leaf gets into early foul trouble.

I am sticking with Kentucky, no other way to put it.

MIDWEST WINNER: (2) KENTUCKY