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NCAA 2017 Basketball Tournament Final Four Preview and Betting Tips

Lorenzo Gahol 28 Mar 2017
  • The NCAA Final Four will take place on Friday, April 1
  • Winners will proceed to Sunday's championship game
Justin Jackson (credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The 2017 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament  concludes with the championship game in Phoenix on April 3.

Final Four Betting Tips 

The national semifinals or Final Four of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament will take place at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Friday. Gonzaga will face South Carolina in the first game to be followed by the duel between North Carolina and Oregon. The winners will proceed to Sunday's championship game.

Friday, April 1

(1) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs (7) South Carolina Gamecocks (23:09 BST)

Final Four first-timers Gonzaga and South Carolina face off in the first game in Glendale. Top seed Gonzaga ruled the West Region bracket after easily disposing of Xavier 83-59 in the finals at the SAP Center in San Jose. 

Nigel Williams-Goss (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The Bulldogs earlier eliminated South Dakota State (66-46), Northwestern (79-73) and West Virginia (61-58). Head coach Mark Few has an experienced line-up featuring guards Nigel Williams-Goss and Jordan Mathews and Polish center Przemek Karnowski. Gonzaga also boasts of Johnathan Williams, Zach Collins, Josh Perkins and Silas Melson. Williams-Goss had 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists against Xavier while Williams had 19 points and eight rebounds. The West Coast Conference champions have won their last seven games and have lost only once throughout the season. South Carolina, meanwhile, is hoping to extend its merry run after eliminating Marquette (93-73), Duke (88-81), Baylor (70-50) and SEC rival Florida (77-70) en route to winning the East Region bracket. Sindarius Thornwell will lead the Gamecocks in their quest for another historic win after posting 26 points and seven rebounds against the Gators. Aside from the co-SEC Player of the Year, head coach Frank Martin will count on PJ Dozier, Duane Notice and Chris Silva.

(1) North Carolina Tar Heels vs (3) Oregon Ducks (01:49 BST on Saturday)

North Carolina is aiming to reach the NCAA championship game for the second-straight season but it must first get past Oregon in the Final Four. 

Tyler Dorsey (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
The Tar Heels topped the South Region after beating Kentucky 75-73 in a pulsating final at the FedExForum last Sunday. Unheralded sophomore Luke Maye nailed a jumper at the buzzer to seal the win for North Carolina just moments after Kentucky freshman Malik Monk tied the game with a difficult three-pointer. While Maye was the hero against Kentucky, juniors Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II are the top guns of the Tar Heels. The two players were instrumental in their earlier wins over Texas Southern (103-64), Arkansas (72-65) and Butler (92-80). Head coach Roy Williams will also count on senior big men Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks to deliver in this match-up. Oregon, meanwhile, stunned No. 1 Kansas 74-60 in the Midwest Region championship game in Kansas City to reach the Final Four for the first time since winning the inaugural NCAA Tournament in 1939. The Ducks earlier ousted Iona (93-77), Rhode Island (75-72) and Michigan (69-68). Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey will lead Oregon in this match-up. Dorsey fired 27 points including six triples against Kansas while Brooks added 17. Jordan Bell is also out to make a huge impact after posting 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks in their last game. Head coach Dana Altman will also count on Dylan Ennis to step up in the absence of the injured Chris Boucher. 

Outright Odds

North Carolina is a slight favorite to win the NCAA Tournament with four teams left in the competition. The Tar Heels, who finished runner-up to Villanova last season, can be backed at 13/10 with bet365 to win their first title since 2009. North Carolina reached the Final Four after beating Kentucky 75-73 in the South Region finals last Sunday. Gonzaga, the only other regional No. 1 seed left, is priced at 6/4 to win its maiden NCAA crown. The Bulldogs crushed Xavier 83-59 in the West Region finals to reach the Final Four for the first time. Surprise semifinalists Oregon and South Carolina are the outsiders to win this season's NCAA crown. 

NCAA Outright Odds

TeamBet365 Odds
North Carolina Tar Heels 13/10
Gonzaga Bulldogs  6/4
Oregon Ducks 19/4
South Carolina Gamecocks 15/2

2017 NCAA Final Four Schedule

Final Four

DateTime (UK)Game
Friday, April 123:09 BST(1) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs (7) South Carolina Gamecocks
Saturday, April 201:49 BST(1) North Carolina Tar Heels vs (3) Oregon Ducks

Participating Teams

Automatic Qualifiers

America EastVermont
Atlantic 10Rhode Island
Atlantic SunFlorida Gulf Coast
Big 12Iowa State
Big EastVillanova
Big SkyNorth Dakota
Big SouthWinthrop
Big TenMichigan
Big WestUC Davis
CAAUNC Wilmington
C-USAMiddle Tennessee
HorizonNorthern Kentucky
Ivy LeaguePrinceton
MACKent State
MEACNorth Carolina Central
Missouri ValleyWichita State
Mountain WestNevada
NECMount St. Mary's
Ohio ValleyJacksonville State
SouthernEast Tennessee State
SouthlandNew Orleans
SWACTexas Southern
Summit LeagueSouth Dakota State
Sun BeltTroy
WACNew Mexico State

At-large Qualifiers

Big 12Kansas
ACCNorth Carolina
ACCFlorida State
Big 12Baylor
Big EastButler
Big 12West Virginia
Big TenPurdue
Big TenMinnesota
ACCNotre Dame
Big TenMaryland
Big EastCreighton
WCCSt. Mary's
SEC South Carolina
Atlantic 10 Dayton
Big TenWisconsin
ACCMiami (Florida)
SEC Arkansas
Big TenNorthwestern
Big EastSeton Hall
Big TenMichigan State
ACCVirginia Tech
Big 12Oklahoma State
Big EastMarquette
Atlantic 10VCU
Big EastXavier
Big EastProvidence
ACCWake Forest
Big 12Kansas State

NCAA Tournament History

The first ever NCAA Basketball Tournament was played in Evanston, Illinois, in 1939 and featured only eight teams with Oregon emerging as the inaugural champion. The annual tournament was initially considered second-tier to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) but has long overtaken the NIT and is now among the most-watched sporting events in the United States.

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) is the most successful team in the tournament with 11 titles including seven in a row from 1967 to 1973. Ten of those championships were won under legendary head coach John Wooden, whose great Bruin teams included the likes of Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Gail Goodrich and Bill Walton. 

Kentucky, under head coach Adolph Rupp, was the first dominant force in the tournament having won four titles in the 1940s and 1950s. The Wildcats are the second most successful school in this competition with eight titles.

NCAA Champions

NCAA Men's Basketball Division I Champions

SchoolTitlesChampion Years
UCLA111964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1995
Kentucky81948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012
Duke51991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015
Indiana51940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987
North Carolina51957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009
Connecticut41999, 2004, 2011, 2014
Kansas31952, 1988, 2008
Louisville31980, 1986, 2013
Cincinnati21961, 1962
Florida22006, 2007
Michigan State21979, 2000
North Carolina State21974, 1983
Oklahoma State (formerly Oklahoma A&M)21945, 1946
San Francisco21955, 1956
Villanova21985, 2016
Holy Cross11947
La Salle11954
Loyola (Chicago)11963
Ohio State11960
UTEP (formerly Texas Western)11966

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NCAA 2017 Basketball Tournament Final Four Preview and Betting Tips

The 2017 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament concludes with the championship game in Phoenix on April 3.

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