Top-seeded Gonzaga meets seventh-seeded South Carolina on Saturday in both programs' first-ever appearance in the Final Four.
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Many expected the Zags to be here. They're 36-1 and have held three of four NCAA Tournament foes under 60 points.
No one expected the Gamecocks to make it, not after they entered the tourney on a 2-5 skid. All South Carolina has done is upset No. 2 seed Duke, No. 3 seed Baylor and No. 4 seed Florida.
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South Carolina senior guard Sindarius Thornwell averages 21.6 points and has poured in 103 points in four tourney games; Gonzaga boasts four double-figure scorers led by Nigel Williams-Goss (16.7).
In the Elite Eight pummeling of Xavier, Williams-Goss nailed 4 of 7 treys en route to a game-high 23 points.
Being the underdog is nothing new for the Gamecocks, and they'll be in that position again come Saturday evening. Gonzaga is favored by 6.5 points -- no change from the opening line.
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The Over-Under, or projected total points, opened at 138 and has risen to 138.5.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulated the game 10,000-plus times and generated this final score: Gonzaga 74, South Carolina 65. However, SC has proven time and time again that its magical run to the Final Four might not end any time soon.
Our projection indicates we'd lay the points with Gonzaga (-6.5). But we have no strong opinion on the total, as our 139 projected points basically mirrors what Vegas is offering.
Here are the projected top scorers for Saturday's 6:09 p.m. ET tipoff in Phoenix:
- Sindarius Thornwell: 33 minutes, 16.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists
- PJ Dozier: 27 minutes, 11.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists
- Duane Notice: 32 minutes, 9.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists
- Chris Silva: 19 minutes, 8.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists
- Nigel Williams-Goss: 33 minutes, 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists
- Jordan Mathews: 29 minutes, 10.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists
- Przemek Karnowski: 23 minutes, 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists
- Johnathan Williams: 25 minutes, 9.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.8 assists
SOUTH CAROLINA'S MIRACLE RUN
South Carolina has been a team of runs this season. They opened the 2016-17 campaign at 8-0 before a stretch from February 7 to March 10 in which they lost six of nine SEC games, including their SEC Tournament opener against Alabama. Now, four straight wins in the NCAA Tournament have them in the 2017 Final Four in Phoenix.