The 2017 NCAA National Championship game will pit a traditional power against a school looking for its first triumph on college basketball’s biggest stage. Saturday night was Gonzaga’s first Final Four appearance and comes just 22 years after making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1995.
Gonzaga was able to stave off a second-half comeback from a red-hot South Carolina team in a 77-73 victory. Nigel Williams-Goss led all players with 23 points. Freshman forward Zach Collins scored 14 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked six South Carolina shots – in just 23 minutes.
The North Carolina Tar Heels had to rely on offensive rebounds to pull out a narrow 77-76 win over Oregon in the final seconds. Kennedy Meeks finished with 25 points and 14 boards and Justin Jackson chipped in with 22 points as North Carolina advanced to their second consecutive national title game.
The Tar Heels stand between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and a National Championship. Despite going 37-1 so far this season, Gonzaga is a two-point underdog in Monday night’s final.
The tournament’s remaining No. 1 seeds Gonzaga and North Carolina will play on Monday night in Glendale, Arizona at 9:20 p.m. ET on CBS.
Images via NCAA March Madness