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March Madness Final Four Preview

by Nahom Nega, Staff Writer

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The annual NCAA March Madness tournament kicked off last week throughout 8 major cities in the US. We went from 68 teams to now just 4, in what is known as the Final Four.

The first three rounds have been very thrilling to watch and it is safe to say that college basketball fans got what they wanted: an unpredictable and entertaining tournament. Every year since the first March Madness tournament in 1939, millions of fans participate in the annual tradition of making a bracket in prediction of how they think the tournament will go.

This year over 40 million people made brackets and bet over $2 billion dollars. Out of those 40 million people only 657 predicted the right 4 teams in the Final Four. Those teams are (1)Gonzaga, (1)North Carolina, (7)South Carolina and (3)Oregon. These 4 teams have been to the final four a combined total of 22 times. University of North Carolina has the most with 20 appearances, while the only other team to ever make an appearance is the University of Oregon with just two.

Game to watch:
Oregon vs. North Carolina
Speaking of University of Oregon, to me, they are the most impressive team. Filled with many talented individuals that bring their A game every night, two of the biggest x-factors are the two star Freshman: forward Jordan Bell and point guard Tyler Dorsey.

Jordan Bell has been an absolute defensive monster for Oregon. According to Hooplens.com, when Bell is on the floor, Oregon surrender just .96 points per possession. In the past two games he has put up 10 blocks. He is also playing at a pretty efficient level offensively as in the past two games he averaged 13.5 ppg and 13.0 rpg. Bell will be the center of Oregon’s defense against a high powered UNC team. Oregon will need Bell to have another monster game on the glass and inside the perimeter.

The biggest x factor for Oregon is Tyler Dorsey. Tyler Dorsey has been clutch throughout the tournament and definitely the best player on the team. Dorsey is averaging 23.6 ppg with an impressive 62.4 FG% and a 57.8 3PT%. In the last two games Dorsey put up 20 and 27 points and has been absolutely wet from behind the arch. Although Dorsey is a freshman, he is still undeniably the leader of the team. His performance will determine the rest of the team’s confidence and play. Throughout the tournament we’ve seen that whenever the stakes are high, Dorsey seems to perform at a more confident and elite level, so we can expect him to ball out.

UNC beat 2nd ranked Kentucky last weekend on a late Luke Maye basket that left 0.3 seconds on the clock. UNC’s success this season is heavily due to their big men more than it is their guards. Forwards Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks have been carrying the team on both sides of the ball. These two forwards have exceptional speed for big men and usually once they drive on you they either score or get fouled. Because of players like this UNC is one of most fouled teams in the ACC.

The biggest star on the team is most definitely junior Small Forward, Justin Jackson. Jackson is one of the most improved players in college basketball, his ppg went from 12.2 last year to 18.2 this season along with his 3pt% from 29 to 38 percent. He is the face of this UNC team and just like Dorsey we can expect to see him having a great game. But it’s unrealistic to see him posting any abnormal stats just because of the way UNC plays and the way they share the ball.

Prediction: Oregon pulls off the upset 76-73

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March Madness Final Four Preview