Final Four 2017 Schedule: TV Info and NCAA Tournament Bracket Breakdown

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2017

Gonzaga players celebrate after beating Xavier during an NCAA Tournament college basketball regional final game Saturday, March 25, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Tony Avelar/Associated Press

CBS probably didn't bank on a matchup between No. 7 South Carolina and No. 1 Gonzaga kicking off its Final Four coverage on Saturday, but that's exactly what viewers will get when they tune into the network at 6:09 p.m. ET.

After that lopsided matchup will be the showdown between No. 3 Oregon and No. 1 North Carolina at approximately 8:49 p.m. And by the end of Saturday, we'll know which two teams will face off in the NCAA championship on Monday. 

To say that this year's Final Four group is unusual is an understatement. Fans of March Madness will remember that the UConn Huskies became the first No. 7 seed to win a national championship in 2014, but South Carolina has a long road ahead to become the second this year. 

Let's take a look at the schedule and odds for Saturday's matchups and the updated bracket before we break down the two Final Four matchups. 

NCAA Final Four TV Info, Odds
DateMatchupsTime (ET)TVSpread
April 1South Carolina (7) vs. Gonzaga (1)6:09 p.m.CBSGonzaga (-6.5)
April 1Oregon (3) vs. North Carolina (1)8:49 p.m.CBSNorth Carolina (-4.5)
Odds via OddsShark

Bracket Breakdown

It's no surprise that first-seeded UNC is favored by 4.5 points over Oregon in the Final Four. 

North Carolina has been here many times before. The Tar Heels were just a few plays away from winning the title in 2016, after all, and freshman Tony Bradley is the only starter on the current squad who wasn't around for that run. 

How much does experience factor into the actual play on the court?

It's hard to quantify, but there's no doubt that UNC has an edge simply for having had to deal with all of the distractions of the Final Four before, from media responsibilities to huge crowds. 

But there's plenty about UNC's actual play that makes it an obvious favorite over Oregon, despite the Ducks' many talents. ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson is a 6'8" forward who is incredibly consistent in his scoring. 

Combine Jackson with weapons such as Kennedy Meeks, who stands at 6'10", and it becomes obvious why UNC could create matchup issues for Oregon.

Meeks also leads an incredible North Carolina offensive rebounding rate of 40.9 percent, meaning even the Tar Heels' mistakes aren't always mistakes. 

In the other matchup, we have No. 1 Gonzaga favored by 6.5 points over South Carolina. 

Though the seeding looks completely lopsided for this clash, there are a few deficiencies in Gonzaga's game that South Carolina could look to capitalize. 

For instance, the Bulldogs only go 37.8 percent on their three-point attempts and they only derive 26.2 percent of their total points from threes. 

The Gamecocks, meanwhile, have a stout three-point defense, allowing just 30.1 percent of attempts from beyond the arc. It was a big reason why South Carolina was able to upset Duke and shock the nation. 

However, where the Bulldogs may be lacking beyond the arc, they more than make up for inside the paint, and ultimately it's hard to imagine that the Gamecocks will be able to contain Gonzaga's Prezmek Karnowski, who boasts a 60.1 percent field-goal percentage. 

It seems pretty likely that viewers can expect to tune into a Gonzaga-North Carolina championship on Monday, but that's the beauty of March Madness—anything can happen. 

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