Final Four matchups that could make the difference


MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 24: Head coach Steve Alford of the UCLA Bruins reacts in the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 24, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee. Washington's Markelle Fultz didn't even go dancing at all.

"The rim protection that we have this year is different than anything we've been able to put out there", Few said. And it almost did just that.

South Carolina's front court vs. Gonzaga's bigs.

No. 1 North Carolina vs.

For Under Armour, the chance to capitalize on South Carolina's surprising run as a No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament is a welcome development. Then again, he is a senior.

North Carolina is the lone blueblood here. OR has been starting freshman Payton Pritchard, but only since senior Chris Boucher got hurt during the Pac-12 tournament. It's not as if the Tar Heels were left with a bare résumé after Villanova snatched the title from their hands in the closing seconds past year. Man, these guys are old.

"I have a special interest because my mom Angela and my Auntie Pam both graduated from the University of SC and my grandparents went there for graduate school", she told ABC News.

If the Gamecocks hope to accomplish that feat, they'll have to get past the experienced Bulldogs first. It's part of what we do. After a stint at Texas A&M, he has had Maryland in the tournament three straight years since joining the Big Ten.

The Tar Heels claimed the ACC regular season crown with a 14-4 SU record but stumbled down the stretch with SU losses in two of their final four outings, and are a middling 3-3-2 ATS in their past eight games overall.

Nah. More like no big deal. "Experience doesn't help the game you're playing", Martin said. "We just need to follow the game".

The Tar Heels' leading scorer at 18.2 points per game, Jackson has been named to the Wooden All-America team and received first-team honors from the NABC and The Sporting News and second team from the United States Basketball Writers Association.

Gonzaga's Williams-Goss has been stellar, but will face an impressive defensive team that has been forcing turnovers at a high clip throughout the NCAA tournament. Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins are more than a handful inside. Williams-Goss, meanwhile, has been in a shooting slump during the tournament, combining to shoot 19-for-61 from the field (31.1 percent) in his last four games.

It was obvious by January that this was the most complete team in Gonzaga history. In large part because it returned almost every key player from its Elite Eight run of 2016. They have been a problem for everybody they've played this year except for one (BYU). So has fellow junior Jordan Bell, the shot-swatting, glass-cleaning sensation of the tournament. If South Carolina packs it in with the intent to mitigate Williams and company's damage on the boards, that could leave Mathews open for business. Tar Heels coach Roy Williams has nothing but upperclassmen in his starting lineup.

"Just as your point guard initiates your offense, your on-ball defender initiates your defense", Gamecocks coach Frank Martin said Friday. That gave them extra attention and it exploded with a 73-72 win over Florida that included a late tip-in by sophomore Casey Calvary and a mad scramble by the Gators to get off a final shot.

It makes nothing but sense. So back in those days, we were innocent and footloose and fancy-free.