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College Hotline: Best bets for the Final Four

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Failed to post Elite Eight picks due to assignment overload with the West regionals and Cal hiring a coach.

But I would have hit all four games, I swear.

First round: 4-0-1
Second round: 2-3-0
Sweet 16: 2-1-1
Elite Eight: None
Total: 8-4-2
Five-star special: 1-2

All picks against the spread.
Lines taken from vegasinsider.com

SOUTH CAROLINA (plus-6.5) vs. GONZAGA: The West Virginia experience should serve Gonzaga well in terms of handling pressure (not that the two opponents are identical in approach). As was the case in the West regionals, Johnathan Williams’ length and ability to defend athletic big men will be invaluable. The Gamecocks have too little offense (103rd in Pomeroy adjusted efficiency) and no answer for Przemek Karnowski. Pick: Gonzaga.

OREGON (plus-5) vs. NORTH CAROLINA: Can’t wait to see the tactics play out: How will UNC defend Oregon’s perimeter unit? How will the Ducks handle UNC’s size? Expect to see a hefty dose of zone defense, which means perimeter shooting will be essential — and that task is typically more difficult with the football-stadium shooting backgrounds. Jordan Bell has been one of the tournament’s most dominant forces. If he avoids foul trouble, the Ducks have a fabulous chance. Pick: Oregon.

Straight-up winners: Gonzaga and North Carolina

Five-star special: Oregon. Too many talented players performing at a high level for the Ducks to lose by more than one possession … if they lose at all.

*** Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

*** The Hotline podcast is available on iTunes.

 

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