Final Four 2017 Schedule: Updated Bracket, Live-Stream Info and More

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2017

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 26: Isaiah Hicks #4 of the North Carolina Tar Heels shoots in the second half against Isaac Humphries #15 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 26, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If you let Las Vegas tell it, this year's Final Four will feature down-to-the-wire contests between a dash of the usual suspects and some new flavor to even the landscape out. 

Call it a breath of fresh air for men's basketball, as none of the notable one-and-done factories like Kentucky made it through.

Instead, the globe gets to watch a Cinderella, as seventh-seeded South Carolina clashes with top-seeded Gonzaga—and a borderline usual suspect enjoying a deeper run than usual.

Top-seeded North Carolina knows a thing or two about being this far, though an offensive sprint against the third-seeded Oregon Ducks promises highlights aplenty.

This year's final slate is a nice way to cap off the season. Here's everything to know as the events approach.

      

Final Four Schedule and Updated Bracket

DateMatchupsTime (ET)TVLive StreamSpread
April 1South Carolina (7) vs. Gonzaga (1)6:09 p.m.CBSNCAA.comGonzaga (-6.5)
April 1Oregon (3) vs. North Carolina (1)8:49 p.m.CBSNCAA.comNorth Carolina (-4.5)
NCAA.com; OddsShark

     

Final Four Storylines to Watch

Major Debuts 

South Carolina is a Cinderella by definition, if not because of the seed, then because the Gamecocks (43rd in ESPN's RPI rankings) have never made it this far in the bracket before. 

Neither has Gonzaga (eighth RPI)—top seed or not.

Call the meeting one of historical flavor, as captured by ESPN Stats & Info:

The Bulldogs would usually be the most interesting team in a matchup like this. A program that desperately needs to prove it has staying power as a top presence in the sport, Gonzaga has made it this far on the back of the top slot in adjusted defensive efficiency at KenPom.com.

Even when the Bulldogs appear to struggle—like in the 61-58 win against fourth-seeded West Virginia in the Sweet 16—their suffocating defense still made waves. Those Mountaineers shot 26.7 percent from the floor (16 of 60). That's been par for the course, as no opponent has shot even 41 percent against the defense so far.

Nigel Williams-Goss and others will need to bring some offense against the Gamecocks to advance, though. South Carolina sits right behind the Bulldogs in adjusted defensive efficiency at KenPom, which has helped the program move past No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Baylor and No. 4 Florida.

A defensive staring contest makes for entertaining basketball. Even better is the simple fact that the more composed team during a critical stretch in program history will advance to play for a title.

     

Tournament-Best Players Get a Shot at a Legacy 

Drumming up the top names in the tournament so far isn't hard to do. 

Projecting who will step up, win a title and attain tournament-legend status is much harder.

SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell paces the Gamecocks and is the likeliest candidate from the game with the Bulldogs.

Thornwell might be the tournament's best two-way player, though the box score only shows his offensive proficiency—he's scored at least 24 points in all four games so far.

A rival for Thornwell in this regard isn't easy to nail down because Gonzaga entered with four guys averaging 10 or more points and six at eight or more. Though Przemek Karnowski patrols the paint, it could be the aforementioned Williams-Goss filling in the leading-scorer role, something he's done in two tournament games so far, scoring 20 or more points.

Consistency for Williams-Goss will be key for the Bulldogs:

In the other matchup, North Carolina has a laundry list of well-known players. Going into the tournament, Luke Maye wasn't one of them.

Now he's close to household-name status.

Maye hardly averaged five points per game during the regular season before dropping 16 off the bench against fourth-seeded Butler and another 17 against second-seeded Kentucky, including the game-winning shot. If he's on again in the Final Four, Oregon will have a hard time matching.

Speaking of Oregon, Tyler Dorsey has blown past leading scorer Dillon Brooks during the bracket, scoring 20 or more in every contest, including a pair of 27-point outbursts. He saved his best for last, posting 9-of-13 shooting and 6-of-10 from deep with 27 against top-seeded Kansas. If he can do the same again, he'll steal Maye's sudden spotlight for good.

       

Joel Berry II's Health

When it comes to narrow storylines sure to impact the title picture, it doesn't get bigger than Joel Berry II.

Berry has battled an ankle issue for most of the tournament, which is a rough situation for North Carolina (fifth RPI) given the offensive potency of the Ducks (ninth RPI). The Tar Heels might rank sixth in adjusted offensive efficiency at KenPom.com, but Oregon isn't far off at 16th, thanks to a dynamic backcourt.

Berry is the key counter to Oregon thanks to his slashing ability, which allows him to collapse defenses and create for guys like Justin Jackson and Maye. But even head coach Roy Williams didn't sound overly positive going into the week.

"Hopefully by the time we get to Thursday or Friday, he'll be able to do some things in practice, but I'm scared to death right now because I don't know," Williams said, according to Stats LLC (via ESPN.com).

One can see why Williams would be scared. Berry only managed 10 points in a 72-65 escape against eighth-seeded Arkansas. He looked fully recovered in a 92-80 blowout of fourth-seeded Butler before suffering another setback against second-seeded Kentucky, a two-point escape in which Berry scored 11.

Nicole Auerbach of USA Today has cited Berry as saying he'll play no matter what. If the Tar Heels are lucky, the break has done his injured ankles some good. If not, Oregon might keep on dancing.

  

Advanced metrics courtesy of ESPN.com. Odds via OddsShark.com.

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