March Madness is heading toward an exciting climax. With the Final Four taking place Saturday, April 1, and leading up to the national championship on Monday, April 3, Phoenix is in for a wild ride — and featuring your Oregon Ducks, for the first time since 1939, when the Ducks won the program’s only basketball national championship, which required only three wins.
The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, will host the semifinals and finals, also for the first time. 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 also lopsided 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. The Wildcats secured their second ever national championship on the shot.
This year’s Elite Eight boasted some surprises, including Gonzaga’s most recent opponent Xavier and Elite Eight first-timers South Carolina. Florida snagged their spot at the last second, thanks to a buzzer-beater by Chris Chiozza. The winner of the rubber match between Florida and South Carolina advances to face Gonzaga.
Oregon will play the winner of No. 4-seeded Florida and No. 8-seeded South Carolina, which is currently the most surprising team remaining in the field.
Like always, the tournament has dealt us some upsets and bracket-busters and shown us which of the high seeds like the Ducks really have what it takes to go all the way.
Gonzaga and Oregon are into the Final Four with two big games looming on Sunday between the Gators and Gamecocks and the blue-blooded Tar Heels and Wildcats. For Ducks fans, that’s an historic accomplishment that feels all the better because the Jayhawks were a No. 1 seed.
How to watch on TV
Semifinals (Saturday, April 1)
Gonzaga vs. South Carolina, 3:09 p.m. PT, CBS
North Carolina vs. Oregon, 5:49 p.m. PT, CBS
National championship (Monday, April 3)
Semifinal winners, 6 p.m. PT, CBS