March Madness has lived up to its name as the 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket has reached the Final Four. North Carolina and Gonzaga survived as top seeds, but South Carolina and Oregon surprised many with their respective runs.
Each team made a little bit of history along the way, so let's look at what's been accomplished by each of the teams. Since we're in the Final Four, let's take a look at four stats from each of the remaining teams.
North Carolina's Final Four success
The Tar Heels reached their 20th Final Four out of 78 total tournaments, meaning they have made it to 25 percent ofallFinal Fours. That's a pretty remarkable stat and shows just how dominant this program has been over several years. Behind them in total appearances are Kentucky (17), UCLA (17) and Duke (16).
ESPN Bracket results
While picking North Carolina, Gonzaga and Oregon wouldn't have been difficult, selecting South Carolina in your bracket pool would have been a stretch. So getting all four would have been pretty difficult, and only 657people on ESPN did just that (out of nearly 19 million).
Oddly enough, one of those brackets had No. 16 seed UC Davis in their Elite 8, proving that none of this makes any sense.
Brackets really didn't expect South Carolina to make it
More people had South Dakota State, Texas Southern and UC Davis in the Final Four in Tournament Challenge than South Carolina (106,192)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 27, 2017
Keeping with the theme from the previous stat, there were a lot of people who didn't expect South Carolina to make it to the Final Four. More people in ESPN's brackets had South Dakota State making it, and the Jackrabbitslost to Gonzaga in the very first game 66-46.
Oregon's Jordan Bell is rebounding like a madman
Jordan Bell: rebounding machine.— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 26, 2017
He's the first to pull down 12+ boards in 5 straight tourney games since HOFer Hakeem Olajuwon in '83-84. pic.twitter.com/5hN4gfsLLI
Jordan Bell made himself a well-known name in Oregon's last win by blocking eight shots. He also finished with 13 rebounds (seven offensive), giving him at least 12 in every tournament game so far. He's been a key difference maker in the Ducks' run this year.
Sindarius Thornwell has chance at NCAA Tournament history
South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell has been getting to the free throw line with ease in this tournament, and he has a chance to make history if his team stays alive. He's made 32 free throws in the tourney and is 23 away from the all-time record.
He'll have to make it to the title game to even have a shot, but he's not far off. He's averaged 10.7 free throws in his last three games, and needs to average 11.5 over the next two (assuming they advance). While difficult, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Former Kansas State coaches represent half the teams
Frank Martin (South Carolina) and Dana Altman (Oregon) were both the head coach of Kansas State at one point. Granted, Altman's tenure ended more than two decades ago (1994), but it's still pretty impressive that there are two former K-State coaches in the Final Four.
South Carolina and Gonzaga make history
The Gamecocks and Bulldogs each made their first Final Fours ever, and will face each other in the semifinals. This is the first matchup where both teams making their first Final Four appearances play one another since 1973 (Memphis vs. Providence).
Gonzaga looks to break success trend
Gonzaga (36-1) is just the eighth team to reach the Final Four with one loss or fewer since tournament expansion in 1985. You would think those teams would be successful, but you'd be wrong. None of the previous seven teams won the title.
South Carolina had difficult road to Final Four
South Carolina didn't make it easy on its NCAA Tournament run. The Gamecocks had to overcome three halftime deficits (Marquette, Duke, Florida) and did so by outscoring opponents by 54 total points in the second half.
Per Elias Sports (via ESPN), South Carolina became just the fourth team to overcome three halftime deficits to reach the Final Four, with Georgetown in 2007 the most recent to do it.
Odds to win tournament
According to ESPN'sCollege Basketball Power Index, Gonzaga has the best chance to win the NCAA Tournament.
- Gonzaga 55%
- North Carolina 26%
- Oregon 17%
- South Carolina 2%