So, let’s review. We’ve got North Carolina in the Final Four, which isn’t all that surprising. The Tar Heels have been to 11 Final Fours since 1991, including five during the Roy Williams era. The also played for a national title last year. So yeah, not surprising.
But the rest of the Final Four? Surprising.
We’ve got Gonzaga, who has never made it this far. We’ve got South Carolina, who has never made it this far. And we’ve got Oregon, who hasn’t made it this far since 1939 – the same year that “The Wizard of Oz” was released.
Did you correctly pick the Final Four? Congratulations – because you might be the only one.
“I’m sure that there are a lot of people who had their brackets busted,” college basketball analyst Grant Hill said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I don’t think anyone picked South Carolina to make it all the way to the Final Four. North Carolina and Gonzaga were No. 1 seeds. Oregon is a very talented team out of the West Coast. You know what’s interesting? I kind of like the versatility of the different teams – or the variety, rather.”
Indeed, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Oregon and South Carolina all have different styles of play.
“You have a South Carolina team that, the way they play defense, is really just amazing,” Hill said. “They’re relentless. They suffocate you and they wear you down. You have Mark Few and Gonzaga, a very good defensive team, just a very good overall well-balanced team. Inside, outside, a good defensive team, great guard play, shooters – just a very balanced team. And then you have North Carolina. Redemption from last year, the disappointment of losing at the buzzer, most of those guys are back – they’re experienced and obviously very talented.”
And let’s not forget Oregon, which advanced to the Final Four despite losing big man Chris Boucher to a torn ACL in semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament.
“Oregon has had just a fantastic season,” Hill said. “The West Coast basketball scene is back. How they were able to have just a fantastic year and a great postseason run (in the) Pac 12 tournament and then all the way through the NCAA Tournament (is impressive). So, eclectic, variety, different styles – I think it should make for some good games. So I’m excited.”
Hill will call the Final Four with Bill Raftery and Jim Nantz, who, based on Gregg Giannotti’s experience, always smells great.
Hill cannot confirm or deny that.
“I broke my nose in college, and I have a deviated septum,” Hill explained, “and one of the things I can’t do is smell. We are huddled up there. We’re very close to each other when we’re in the broadcast booth. But I have not been able to smell Jim Nantz.”
Hill cannot smell flowers or a freshly baked pizza, either.
“Well, it’s got to be a strong smell or a strong scent for me to be able to smell it,” Hill said. “My wife will have on a new perfume and she’ll ask me what do I think, and I’m like, ‘I can’t smell it, honey.’”