Who made it into the NCAA Tournament's Final Four?
- Author: Regina Walsh Mar 27, 2017,
Mar 27, 2017, 0:50
Williams-Goss scored 23 points and forward Johnathan Williams had 19 points and won the tournament MVP award.
Xavier and Gonzaga matched up in the Elite Eight on Saturday, and with the victor set to secure the first Final Four appearance in program history. This Gonzaga team doesn't need to play its ideal game on the offensive end to win.
"We had a plan for ourselves", Nigel Williams-Goss said. "We didn't shy away from setting that goal and we bought in".
In case you've been sleeping for the past 48 hours, Kentucky freshman (that's a little redundant, we know) De'Aaron Fox put up 39 points in the Sweet 16 against UCLA without hitting a three.
The under is 6-2 in Gonzaga last 8 overall and the under is 6-2 in Gonzaga last 8 neutral site games while the under is 6-2 in Gonzaga last 8 NCAA Tournament games.
Xavier made an improbable run to its fourth Sweet 16 in eight years under Mack, overcoming a late six-game losing streak and the loss of point guard Edmond Sumner to a torn left ACL.
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Add in 300-pound, 7-foot-1 Polish center Przemek Karnowski and guard Josh Perkins, both granted extra seasons because of injuries, and the Zags' starters made some of the most interesting journeys to the Pacific Northwest since Lewis and Clark.
There will be stories about big man Przemek Karnowski, about how the Bulldogs don't look like your standard mid-major due to their power conference transfers, and about how the weight of the world is off head coach Mark Few's shoulders. Something I doubt anyone, myself included felt would be possible a month ago. Many probably expected early in the year that Xavier could get to the Elite Eight. "This was a culture win and a culture statement and couldn't be prouder". The Zags were No. 1 in defensive efficiency during the regular season and shut down the underdog and 11th-seeded Musketeers (24-14) to become the first WCC team to reach the Final Four in 60 years.
In the second half, for good measure, Gonzaga chose to re-assume its true defensive form, and promptly demoralized the Musketeers, who scored 20 points in the final 20 minutes.
Xavier is a great mid-major program in its own right, but Chris Mack's team was completely outmanned on Saturday. From an eye-test perspective they're a better team than their record shows. They are really, really good. Few had been the winningest NCAA tournament coach without a Final Four on his résumé. Consider, they were coming off a season in which they reached as high as No. 4 in the coaches poll, knocked off the No. 1 team in the country and eventual national champs, and gained all types of national publicity.
"They were just locked in", said Xavier's Trevon Bluiett, who had 10 points. Also, expect to see at least 25 from Jackson who should have more space thanks to the great play of Mason recently. The Musketeers pulled off an upset over No. 2 Arizona on Thursday night, 73-71.
"Our defense has gotten us this far all year", Few said. We've had some classes that redshirted and stayed together for four years. While the semifinals may have lacked March Madness, they led up to one of the most exciting championship games ever capped by a buzzer beating three-pointer by Kris Jenkins and the Wildcats second ever national championship.