NCAA March Madness: The Final Four is set

March Madness

The stage is set. The rumbling crescendo of the NCAA March Madness is reaching a fever pitch and getting amped up even more as the last two teams have booked their tickets to the Final Four. It will be UNC and South Carolina that will take the last spots and join Gonzaga and Oregon as the survivors of some of the brutally surprising brackets in history.

(2) Kentucky 73, (1) UNC 75

Post-season mainstays, North Carolina came away with an exciting win at the buzzer over a tough Kentucky squad. With ice in his veins, Luke Maye knocked down a jumper with 0.3 seconds left in regulation to send the Tar Heels, in what is to them, all too familiar territory, another Final Four appearance.

While Maye’s dagger shot was what ended up being the death blow to Kentucky, but it was UNC’s massive push as a team towards the end that swung the momentum in their favor. They managed to mount a solid rally in the last five minutes to bring the game within striking distance.

Justin Jackson led UNC with 19 points and it was Kennedy Meeks’ impressive activity around the glass that played a pivotal role in locking down the win. The big man finished the game with 7 points, 17 rebounds, a steal, and four blocks. Maye not only hit the game-winning shot but was active all throughout the game, providing a spark on offense with 17 points.

Edrice Adebayo and Kavaughn Allen led Kentucky with 13 points apiece.

UNC now goes on to face Oregon in what should be another epic game.

(7) South Carolina 77, (4) Florida 70

South Carolina finds itself in unfamiliar territory. This will be their first appearance in the NCAA March Madness Final Four and a dream come true for the school, its alumni, and supporters. Their well-deserved win over Florida was spearheaded by the monster game of Sindarius Thornwell who exploded for 26 points.

Florida led at the end of the first half 33-40 but the Gamecocks fought back in the second half and made a game of it in the final minute of regulation. South Carolina’s aggressive defense forced Florida to commit 16 turnovers in this game and that was a key factor in the win.

Aside from South Carolina’s Thornwell, P.J. Dozier came up big with 17 points of his own. Chris Silva was one rebound shy of recording a double-double with 13 points and nine boards.

Justin Leon led Florida 18 points.

South Carolina will have the tough task of facing off against Gonzaga in the Final Four, but that game should be a definite popcorn-cruncher for both sides.

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