Zig-Zag: Three Gonzaga players to watch vs

And yet, when the first semifinal tips off on Saturday night in Phoenix, the showdown between Gonzaga and SC will feature the nation's best defense trying to stop the senior, Sindarius Thornwell, who was honored by coaches as SEC player of the year and has been the most valuable player of the NCAA Tournament thus far. Dixon moved to TCU before this season, and the Horned Frogs just missed the NCAA Tournament in his first year, and then won the NIT. "They go hand in hand".

On the inside, Gonzaga will look to Przemak Karnowski, the 7-foot-1 Polish national, to continue his outstanding tournament.

The Bulldogs, who own Division I's best record at 36-1, may be making their first Final Four appearance, but the Bulldogs pose a serious threat on offense.

GONZAGA: The Bulldogs played in a lot of lopsided games this season. No champion would go undefeated again until the John Wooden-era Bruins, and North Carolina's ability to handle Chamberlain still stands out as one of the more impressive championship game performances ever. We are big on attacking the rim.

Thornwell is not at University of Phoenix Stadium on Thursday due to what coach Frank Martin said was a "little body bug" and did not practice.

Dissimilar from the Mountaineers, the Gamecocks don't usually push the pressure past halfcourt. I know as a college coach, the conversations I have with my seniors are completely different than the conversations I had with the same guy when they were freshmen. "But our inside guys have played well in the NCAA Tournament". In their four contests thus far, the Gamecocks have held three of their adversaries to an offensive rating of 100 or less. If Dozier and Notice can provide help to Sindarius, South Carolina will be tough to beat.

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Guard Duane Notice is the defensive focal point for seventh-seeded SC. Gonzaga's strength is in its balance.

If you managed to guess the final four correctly this year you ended up being part of the.003 percent to do so out of over 13 million submissions. If the Gamecocks get through Gonzaga, though, there's no reason to think they can't beat the victor of North Carolina-Oregon. "Duane is a great role model when it comes to guarding the ball", said Gravett, a sophomore in his first season with the Gamecocks. For the season, the Gamecocks average 18.1 points off opponent's turnovers, the nation's second-best figure.

The Huskies routed Mississippi State by 60 points last season in the Sweet 16, but Auriemma was impressed with what he saw in the Bulldogs win over Baylor. The result was a nail-biting three-point win.

The Zags play at 3:09pm on Saturday.

Likewise, Gonzaga will have to take advantage of South Carolina's vulnerability down low on the other end. The Final Four kicks off April 1st as UNC and OR are slated to go head to head, while SC will put their run on the line against the number one seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Then you have Kennedy Meeks, who is averaging a double-double in the tournament, and point guard Joel Berry II, who has managed to be effective despite playing on two sprained ankles. On Friday, he participated in North Carolina's closed practice and said he's feeling about 85 percent - a virtually certain sign that he'll play. SC certainly wants to keep playing, but this means more to the 'Zag's program.