#7 SOUTH CAROLINA VS #1 GONZAGA (CBS, 6:09pm, est). Just about everyone (including myself) is picking Gonzaga to win this game, but South Carolina’s overall play, particularly their defense, has been so good throughout this tournament that you can’t just write them off. This is a team that beat Duke, who many felt should have been a #1 seed, and who blew Baylor off the court, so simply based on the road each team took to get here, South Carolina’s has been more impressive. Both teams play great defense, and Gonzaga has certainly shown that they’re capable of scoring, even against tough defenses like West Virginia. I like the Zags a little better, but am not ready to just write off South Carolina.
#3 OREGON VS #1 NORTH CAROLINA (CBS, approx 8:49, est). Oregon had to sweat out their Round of 32 game against Rhode Island, as well as their Sweet Sixteen win against Michigan, but then pulled off what I still think is the most shocking single game performance when they ran away from Kansas in the Elite Eight. North Carolina had some trouble with Arkansas, but then beat Butler without too much trouble and then downed Kentucky on a near last second shot. North Carolina has looked like the better team especially when you consider Oregon isn’t at full strength, but it seems silly to keep pointing that out considering that Oregon has made it this far while not being at full strength. UNC could be dealing with injuries of their own.
OTHER GAMES PLAYED ON FRIDAY
Last night, the CIT came down to an exciting finish between Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Saint Peter’s. The Islanders were able to draw a foul while attempting a game-tying 3 pointer with 3 seconds left in regulation. They were able to hit all 3 free throws to tie the score. After SPC inbounded the ball cross court in front of their bench, they called their last timeout to set up one last play. They inbounded cross-court to someone who had an open drive to the bucket and managed to draw a foul with under a second remaining. Trevis Wyche hit the first free throw for the Peacocks and intentionally missed the 2nd one – Corpus Christi’s last-second prayer went unanswered to give Saint Peter’s a 62-61 victory and their first CIT title.
Elsewhere, Wyoming ended up with another 24-point victory to win the CBI championship. This time, they got off to a fast start with a 42-23 halftime lead. Coastal Carolina was unable to put together any runs of significance, and Wyoming won their first postseason tournament since winning the 1943 NCAA Championship.