By: Armando Perez
One of my favorite sports movies of all time is called Glory Road. It was released in 2006 but didn’t get a ton of attention at the box office. It is based on a true story surrounding the events leading to the 1966 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. Don Haskins portrayed by actor Josh Lucas, is the head coach of Texas Western College. The team had an all-black starting lineup and was constantly harassed by racists both in the stands and on the court. There is a quote from this movie that shares my thoughts about this year’s Final Four. Coach Haskins says, “They’re not gonna give it to us! We gotta go out there and we gotta take it! Right? TAKE IT! I want you to go out there and TAKE IT!”
No one gets this far in the tournament with luck, every team has earned their right. This is a unique championship weekend because 3 coaches have never been there before. Frank Martin (South Carolina), Dana Altman (Oregon), and Mark few (Gonzaga).
Roy Williams (North Carolina) has been to 9 Final Fours (1991, 1993, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2016, 2017).
SAT. April 1st, 6:09 PM
#7th South Carolina vs #1 Gonzaga:
Going into this year’s march madness Gonzaga and Xavier were tied for Most NCAA Tournaments wins without ever making a Final Four (27 wins). The monkey is now off Few’s shoulders. For years, “The Zags” have been the team out West that the east coast never paid attention too. Since 1999-2000, Few has never won less than 23 games per year. South Carolina’s coach Frank Martin road to the Final Four is equally as impressive. Martin is no stranger to hard work and grinding. His jobs included:
- Dairy Queen Employee
- Change boy at a billiards hall
- Bus Boy
- Short Order Cook
- Night Club Bouncer
- Math Teacher
- JV and Varsity Coach
South Carolina basketball is now on the map. They dominated Marquette, Baylor, and Duke and beat a very good Florida team. If anyone thinks they were lucky to get here, they haven’t been watching. They have outplayed every team they faced.
Gonzaga may be the most complete team in the tournament from coaches to players on their roster. South Carolina is as tough as their coach but falls short here. Gonzaga won 36 games for a reason.
Take “The Zags” to win 84-79.
SAT. April 9th 8:49 PM
#1 North Carolina vs #3 Oregon
After losing last season in the National Championship Game to Villanova, The Tar Heels are back to the Final Four for the 2nd straight year. Justin Jackson, F, Jr. (18.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 38.0 3pt%) | Joel Berry II, G, Jr. (14.6 ppg, 3.6 apg, 1.4 spg, 39.2 3pt%) lead the Tar Heels offensive attack. But make no mistake about it, Roy Williams’ team has several players who can step up and carry the team for a half or more. This team knows what it feels like to play on the highest stage and there won’t be any early game jitters.
The Ducks are led by Dillon Brooks, F, Jr. (16.3 ppg, 2.8 apg, 41.0 3pt%) | Tyler Dorsey, G, Soph. (14.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 42.3 3pt%). Dorsey became the first player in the history of the NCAA to have four straight games with at least 4 three-pointers made. Dorsey has scored 24,27,20 and 27 points in 4 tournament games. Against Kansas, Jordan Bell contributed with 11 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 8 blocks.
The Jay Hawks were averaging 96 points per game in the tournament and Oregon held them to 60.
Before the tournament begin around 85% of the so called experts had NC winning the National Championship. They are the clear cut favorite and rightly so. But, I am thinking outside the box.
Take the Ducks in the upset 88-85.
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