the final four

final four
and then there were 4.

it’s been a solid college basketball betting year but this march has been one to forget. the madness has been filled with mediocracy… it hasn’t been  a train wreck  but a significant winning run has been absent. we’ll see if the final four brings some winners to close with.

neither match-up genuinely excites me from a betting stand point but gonzaga  has emerged the best bet saturday. the bulldogs simply do too much on both ends of the court for south carolina to keep up with. the gamecocks are a great story and clearly playing their best basketball of the season… frank martin is as likeable as he is excellent and his team is playing with an admirable energy. the trouble is the south carolina offense still can’t be trusted to score in a half-court set against a quality defensive opponent.

for good reason, many folks are talking about the stingy south carolina defense… not as many are talking up the equally tenacious bulldogs d. based on efficiency, these are the top two defenses in college hoops and it’s tough to give either side an edge when both are so good. offense is going to be the difference here. gonzaga has a bunch of guys who can create in different ways, while south carolina only has one guy (thornwell who is currently sick) who can genuinely be trusted to score. the gamecocks have had a few others (notably Dozier) step up at important times, but it’s tough to put money on these guys consistently putting the ball in the basket against the zags d. 

saturday’s prime-time match-up is oregon versus north carolina. my top 25 for most of the season had these two squads in the top 3. when boucher went down for the ducks they slipped to #6 in my poll but this is still a team loaded with talent and character. coach dana altman is as good as any in the game and this team will be unquestionably prepared. north carolina is the most talented team in the field but has some concern with the health of point-guard berry… he’s 2nd on the team in minutes played and is crucial to running the offense. ultimately there are more questions surrounding the heels in this spot. altman will force unc to knock down shots from the perimeter. it’s tough to bet against the heels… they’ve been my number 1 team since november. it’s harder to bet against altman and his focused group here plus points.

playing the west coast… going with zags and ducks. both small.

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