Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, March 31, 2017 at 3:34 PM
Bet On It - There Won't Be Any Blowouts In Most Competitive Final Four In Years And Any Of The Teams, Favorite Or Dog Can Win It All
Matchups Say Oregon Will Go Small To Try To Beat Tar Heels While Gonzaga Must Overcome South Carolina's Shutdown Defense To Get It Done
Baseball Begins Sunday With Three TV Games And With Cubs 7-2 Favorites To Again Win It All
By Kelso Sturgeon
The world of sports betting can sometimes play with your mind, regardless of how long one has been handicapping and betting, and for me that is for more than four decades. That has put me in a dilemma of sorts heading in the NCAA's Final Four tomorrow. On week before the college basketball season I took a strong stand Oregon would win the national championship and here we are. What now?
I personally stayed with Oregon until three weeks ago the Ducks lost one of their best players - 6-10 senior forward Chris Boucher (11.8 points, 6.5 rebounds per game) - for the season with a torn ACL. In my mind the Ducks needed him to win it all but they proved to be good enough to keep right on winning at the highest level of the game.
Do I still go with the team - a 4.5/5.0 underdog to North Carolina in the Final 4 - that has proved me both right and wrong? There is no easy answer to that question. Oregon showed just how good it is when it advanced to the Final Four with a 74-60 win as a 6.5-point under over #1 Kansas in its last game.
Oregon coach says he is again going to go small against towering #1 North Carolina (31-7) in an effort to win. The Tar Heels advanced to the Final Four with a 75-73 win over #2 Kentucky as a 2-point choice and, as noted, am confident I have the winner of this one.
For a bit of history, Oregon won the first-ever NCAA championship in 1939, beating Ohio State, 46-33, and has returned to the Final Four for the first time in 78 years. This is Tar Heels coach Roy Williams ninth trip to the final four and he won one of those at Kansas and two at N.C.
Can David Slay Goliath In South Carolina-Gonzaga Showdown
Gonzaga (36-1) and South Carolina 26-10) began the seasons as real longshots to win the NCAA championship. Gonzaga left the gate at 80-1 and the Gamecocks were completely lost in the shuffle at 200-1. Approaching the post-season, Gonzaga was 12-1 to win it all while South Carolina was still triple digits and gained no respect when it was eliminated in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament by a mediocre Alabama team, 64-53, as a 3,5-point favorite.
At 22-10 South Carolina snuck into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team - something that did not sit well with other bubble teams with better records. And, then something happened.
South Carolina opened NCAA play with a an 88-81 win over #2 seeded Duke and followed that up with a 70-50 win over #3 Baylor and moved on to the Final Four with a 77-70 win over #5 Florida - all as an underdog.
As good as Gonzaga truly is, the Bulldogs have to be a bit nervous when they take the floor against the David of this Final Four. There is no question South Carolina has beaten three powerful teams to get here and there is nothing left to make it four.
It is of note Gonzaga and South Carolina are both competing in their first Final Four.
Current Odds To Win NCAA Championship
|Opening Odds||Current Odds|
I closed out the NIT win with TCU's 35-unit, 32-point blowout, 88-56, win over Georgia Tech and as challenging as the Final Four games were to handicap I am confident I will win both of them and you can get the cash with me for just $25, charged to your major credit card or to Pay Pal. The games will be available on this site between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning.
NCAA Final Four Menu - Played At University Of Phoenix Stadium In Glendale, Arizona
#1 Gonzaga Bulldogs (36-1) vs. #7 South Carolina Gamecocks (26-10)
Tipoff 6:05 Eastern...On CBS
Gonzaga is -6.5 or -7, Total Mostly 138
#1 North Carolina Tar Heels (31-7) vs. #3 Oregon (33-5)
Tipoff 8:35 Eastern...On CBS
North Carolina -4.5 or -5...Total Mostly 152
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