The Final Four gets underway on Saturday April, 1st and will feature two teams making their first trips to the Final Four. Those two teams will meet in the first game on Saturday with South Carolina taking on Gonzaga.
One of these two will make their first championship game and the other will go home, here is why it will be the Gamecocks moving on and cutting down the nets on Monday night.
Player to watch
When it comes to USC you have to look no further than Sindarius Thornwell the SEC’s player of the year. He is one of two power five players of the year left in the Final Four and he can do it all, as you would expect from the SEC player of the year.
Thornwell is a 6-5 senior and a South Carolina native that averages 21.6 PPG, .445 percent on field goals and .394 percent from three point range. He can give USC enough to win it all not just the game verse Zaga.
Thornwell may be dealing with the flu, but there is enough talent on the Gamecocks roster to where Thornwell can afford a off game in the Final Four if that has to happen. However, even if he is sick he will still draw double coverage and extra attention from the Zag’s coaching staff.
The Gamecocks might just have the best defense of the last four teams standing.
They have held their opponents to 64.9 points per game and have held them to just 39.8 percent shooting from the floor. The Gamecocks defense also shuts you down from deep, holding opponents to 29.8 percent shooting from three point range.
While, USC may not have the best offense they win by stopping you from scoring, plus they are the hottest team in the tournament at the moment. That means a lot this time of year and the teams that win the title, are the ones that put it all together at the right time…AKA South Carolina.
Let me put the numbers in a bit more of a perspective for you.
USC ranks fifth in the nation in turnovers forced per game at 17.2, plus they rank seventh in three point field goal percentage defense, 29.8 percent as mentioned earlier. The Gamecocks also held there opponents top score to below his season average on 26 occasions this season and three of their four NCAA Tournament games.
Why they win it all
The Gamecocks have taken down major names like Duke and Florida on their way to the Final Four and they did it with defense and smart play.
That is the reason they will be cutting down the nets on Monday night. people my be looking for USC to go down on Saturday with Thornwell being sick, but like I said earlier he will still draw extra attention and that opens the door for his teammates to help him out.
PJ Dozier, Chris Silva, Duane Notice and Kory Holden all join Thornwell in averaging double digit scoring. They all find a way to capitalize on the attention that Thronwell draws and they will find a way to do it two more times this season.
Plus Gonzaga has had an easy as can be road to the Final Four and needed their hardest opponents to dribble out the clock with a chance to win the game. The Bull Dogs will face there hardest test of the season on Saturday and that bounds will for the Gamecocks.
Defense will also get the job done verse UNC or Oregon.