OREGON DUCKS VS. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (-5, O/U 152), Sat., 8:45 p.m. ET, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
North Carolina is in familiar territory at the Final Four, making its second consecutive appearance and looking for redemption after coming up short in a classic NCAA Tournament championship game last year.
Conversely, Oregon will be making its first Final Four appearance since 1939 behind a startling run of clutch performances despite missing one of its most talented players.
The winner of their matchup Saturday in Phoenix will face the winner of the Gonzaga-South Carolina game for the national title Monday night.
The Tar Heels (31-7) won the ACC regular-season title and earned the top seed in the South Region, as they again overwhelmed opponents with their fast-breaking ways and rebounding prowess.
However, last year they essentially coasted to the title game before losing to Villanova at the buzzer. This journey has already had a couple of close calls.
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North Carolina trailed late against Arkansas before holding off the Razorbacks. Last Sunday, in one of the tournament's most memorable games, it bested Kentucky on a buzzer-beater by Luke Maye for a 75-73 win.
The Ducks (33-5) were a somewhat surprise survivor in a loaded Midwest Region. They are a No. 3 seed but expectations were tame after leading shot blocker and post threat Chris Boucher went down in the Pac-12 Tournament with a season-ending injury.
They also had to withstand a gauntlet of then-surging opponents, starting with Rhode Island and carrying through with wins over Michigan and top-seeded Kansas.
Oregon has used a combination of clutch shot-making and key stops to win its first four games, but the 74-60 win over Kansas stands as its masterpiece.
Jordan Bell filled the void left by Boucher with 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots to prevent the Jayhawks from finishing their drives at the rim. The Ducks held Kansas to 35 percent shooting for the game and 5 of 25 from 3-point range.
Sophomore Tyler Dorsey continued his March heroics with 27 points and star Dillon Brooks had 17 as they combined to make 9 of 18 from 3-point range.
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The Tar Heels needed one of their best defensive showings to turn back the Wildcats, holding them to 41.5 percent shooting and controlling the boards 44-34.
Justin Jackson had 19 points and five rebounds but leader Joel Berry, who has been battling injuries to both ankles, scored 11 while missing all five tries from 3-point range. He had three assists against four turnovers.
Berry's effectivenesss on both ends will be key for the Tar Heels against Oregon, which will need to neutralize the backboards in order stay competitive. The Ducks grab just 36.4 rebounds per game, while the Tar Heels lead the nation with 43.7.
This spread opened at North Carolina -4.5 in most markets before moving to the universal number of -5, which remained the consensus as of Wednesday afternoon.
The total opened at 150 and has since risen to 153 with no signs of slowing down.
Will the Tar Heels return to the national title game, or will the Ducks give another clutch performance and move on to Monday night?
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THE LONE WOLF
North Carolina is in a league of its own in this 2017 Final Four. It has five NCAA Tournament titles - more than the number of Final Fours of South Carolina, Oregon, and Gonzaga combined - and is 4-0 against Oregon all-time, winning by an average of 24 points per game.