Note: The numbers listed next to players' names are their current standing in the latest iteration of our Top-100 Prospect Rankings
All Times Listed are EST
6:09 PM - CBS - Phoenix, Arizona
#1 Gonzaga #24 Zach Collins, #70 Nigel Williams-Goss, Johnathan Williams, Przemek Karnowski
#7 South Carolina#66 Sindarius Thornwell, #68 P.J. Dozier
The top two defenses in college basketball go head to head in what promises to be an outstanding matchup of contrasting styles. Both teams play bigger and more physical lineups without a great deal of outside shooting, which will make things interesting in terms of watching the way both teams' perimeter players are able to navigate the intense defense and lack of spacing we are likely to observe. Gonzaga's half-court offense has been a well-oiled machine all season long, even if they've sputtered at times in the Tournament and have shown their warts of not being the most athletic or creative on the perimeter.
The matchups inside, specifically between European centers Przemek Karnowski and Maik Kotsar, will go a long way in deciding who emerges to the Championship game. Gonzaga pushes the ball inside to Polish big man Karnowski as aggressively as any team in college basketball, knowing that his huge frame, polished footwork and fantastic passing ability will go a long way in finding high percentage shots, either for himself or teammates. Can the Estonian freshman find a way to hold his ground and stay out of foul trouble without the benefit of double teams?
It will be interesting to see how Gonzaga decides to defend him, as their natural small forward option, Jordan Mathews, will likely be severely overmatched. The bigger, more athletic and highly physical Johnathan Williams is likely better suited to containing the bowling ball wing/combo forward, but that will make for some difficult cross-matches with South Carolina's big men, who showed that they need to be respected in the post.
Another interesting matchup to track will be at the point guard position, between two oversized ball-handlers in P.J. Dozier and Nigel Williams-Goss. Both are NBA prospects who have some real flaws scouts are still coming to grasp with. Dozier is a long and athletic combo guard with a great frame and impressive defensive versatility. He found tremendous success shooting over the top of Florida's diminutive guards, but won't have quite the same advantage with the 6'4 Williams-Goss. Both guards have struggled at times with their perimeter jumpers. Williams-Goss has a lot to gain by showing he can create efficient offense against a physically gifted opponent like Dozier.
8:49 PM - CBS - Phoenix, Arizona
#1 North Carolina #13 Justin Jackson, #52 Tony Bradley, #91 Joel Berry, #93 Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks, Theo Pinson
#3 Oregon #42 Dillon Brooks, #43 Jordan Bell, Tyler Dorsey
As expected, Kentucky struggled to find a matchup for UNC's Justin Jackson in the Elite Eight, allowing him to score 19 points with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Oregon will have similar matchup conundrums to consider, as their typical wing options of Tyler Dorsey, Dylan Ennis and Casey Benson are all severely undersized compared with the 6'8 Jackson and his 6'11 wingspan and super versatile offensive game. Scouts would probably like to see Jackson match up with fellow small forward Dillon Brooks, but that's unlikely to materialize due to Oregon's lack of inside depth and the fact that Brooks is mostly used at power forward. It will be interesting to see who Jackson is tasked with slowing down, as Tyler Dorsey has been on an absolute tear offensively as of late and will want to continue his strong momentum before he inevitably enters the draft and leaves Oregon this spring.