March Madness is heading toward a close. With the Final Four starting Saturday, April 1, and leading up to the national championship on Monday, April 3, Phoenix is in for a wild ride, as your South Carolina Gamecocks will continue their unlikely march to a title.
The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, will be hosting the semifinals and finals for the first time ever. The southwestern venue recently hosted the 2016 college football playoffs between Alabama and Clemson, and it’s also the home of the Arizona Cardinals and the annual Fiesta Bowl.
Last year’s Final Four featured Villanova dealing a rough blow to the Oklahoma Sooners, with the Wildcats winning by 44 points in one of the most one-sided games in Final Four history. North Carolina knocked out then-No. 10 Syracuse in an 83-66 victory. While the semifinals may have lacked March Madness, they led up to one of the most exciting championship games ever capped by a buzzer beating three-pointer by Kris Jenkins and the Wildcats second ever national championship.
This year’s Elite Eight already boasted some surprises, including Xavier and its second-half prowess and Elite Eight first-timers South Carolina, making a case that the SEC was a bit underrated this season. Gamecock conference rivals Florida snagged their spot at the last second, thanks to a buzzer beater by Chris Chiozza, while SEC champs Kentucky knocked out UCLA and star Lonzo Ball (who is now headed to the NBA).
With tournament mainstays and Final Four newcomers like Gonzaga alike, fans are in for a tremendous show of talent no matter what. Like always, the tournament has dealt us some upsets and bracket-busters while also showing us which of the higher seeds really have what it takes to make it all the way.
How to watch on TV
Semifinals (Saturday, April 1)
Gonzaga vs. South Carolina, 6:09 p.m., CBS
North Carolina vs. Oregon, 8:49 p.m., CBS
National championship (Monday, April 3)
Semifinal winners, 9 p.m., CBS