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The Final Four: UNC-Chapel Hill And Oregon, South Carolina And Gonzaga

Stare hard at your March Madness brackets because the weekend is over and we are down to the Final Four.

When South Carolina faces Gonzaga in the NCAA final four playoffs in Arizona on Saturday, it will be the first time both the seventh-seeded Gamecocks and the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs have played their way into the semifinals.

The Oregon Ducks, which haven't been in the final four since they won the very first tournament back in 1939, will have to outplay the UNC Tarheels who were last in the Final Four, well, last year, and has, according to theLos Angeles Times, made more Final Four appearances than any other team.

A lot of unexpected teams are in the mix this year and many people didn't see the basketballs bouncing this way, including Gary Parrish of CBS Sports:

I had Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas and UCLA heading to Phoenix. So this is not the Final Four I expected. But let's be honest. This is not the Final Four you expected either.

South Carolina?

Who had South Carolina winning the East?


Who had Oregon winning the Midwest?

I mean, when a school some have forever insisted would never make a Final Four finally making the Final Four is among the least surprising things, you have, by definition, a surprising Final Four. So, absolutely, this is a surprising Final Four — even though it's a Final four featuring three league champions and two No. 1 seeds.

But, as Zach Helfund wrote in the LA Times, "this year's collection of teams is an ode to quiet toil."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Tanya Ballard Brown is an editor for NPR. She joined the organization in 2008.
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