For most of the second half of the North Carolina/Oregon NCAA Men’s Semifinal on Saturday, the Ducks were ice cold from the field and beaten regularly on their own glass, yet they managed to cling to life by drawing fouls and going 25 for 28 from the line. As often happens in such games, their tenacity was rewarded late when, after some errors from the Tar Heels, they finally got a three to fall after the ball bounced above the rim for an eternity. Down a point with seconds left, the Ducks missed the rebound after the Tar Heels bricked two throws. The Tar Heels also bricked the next two, but the Ducks missed the rebound again to end the game, leaving them with several months during the off season to ponder the importance of boxing out.
Now, 68 is down to two, with Gonzaga representing the last hope for the Pacific Northwest. The Bulldogs almost choked their game away as well but staged a late run to hold off South Carolina. Their victory also salvaged what was left of my bracket, which had the Bulldogs in Monday’s game. The current betting line is North Carolina minus two over Gonzaga.