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NCAA Championship: UNC, fans celebrate win over Gonzaga on social media

After a heartbreaking loss to Villanova in last year's NCAA Championship, North Carolina came back with a vengeance Monday night, defeating Gonzaga 71-65 to win its sixth national title.

>> PHOTOS: UNC defeats Gonzaga to win 6th NCAA Championship

>> South Carolina women win first NCAA basketball title

Here's what the Tar Heels and their fans were saying on social media:

>> Click here or scroll down to see the posts

Photos: UNC defeats Gonzaga to win 6th NCAA Championship

Justin Jackson delivered the go-ahead 3-point play with 1:40 left Monday and North Carolina pulled away for a 71-65 win over Gonzaga that washed away a year's worth of heartache.

South Carolina women win first NCAA basketball title

For the first time in four years, women’s college basketball has a new top team, and it wears garnet and black. The South Carolina women’s basketball team is the new national champion, winning a national title for the first time in program history.

The Gamecocks beat Mississippi State 67-55 in Dallas on Sunday afternoon, completing the run through the postseason all the way to the crown in Dawn Staley’s ninth season.

>> Visit SECCountry.com for more NCAA Tournament coverage

South Carolina made the run without senior center Alaina Coates, who missed the NCAA Tournament with an ankle injury. But what the Gamecocks had was more than enough — and all of it is expected back next season.

Junior forward A’ja Wilson led the Gamecocks with 23 points, while Allisha Gray — the star against Stanford on Friday in the Final Four — again came up huge for South Carolina with 18 points.

When the moment mattered most, it was the pair of Wilson and Gray that proved to be the difference as the duo hit back-to-back hoops after the Bulldogs cut the lead to 4 in the fourth quarter.

In the third meeting between the two teams this season, South Carolina jumped out to a lead late in the first quarter with a 6-0 run. The Gamecocks would never trail again, but the evening wasn’t without its tense moments.

>> Men's basketball: Gonzaga brings South Carolina's fairytale run to an end in Final Four

Mississippi State had a huge third-quarter push left in the tank, started by three straight points from star Victoria Vivians. The Bulldogs rattled off a 9-0 run to cut South Carolina’s lead from 14 down to 5 late in the third quarter, but USC had the answer it needed to live through the run.

Wilson made a short jumper and Kaela Davis capped the third quarter with a buzzer-beating jumper to extend the lead back to 8, but the Bulldogs had another run left.

MSU scored four straight to cut the lead down to 4 with 6:52 to play. Wilson had the necessary answer again, swatting away an MSU shot and getting a good bounce on a short jumper to send South Carolina to a 6-point advantage. Then it was Gray with a jumper to lift the Gamecocks back to safety and off with the national title.

Gonzaga brings South Carolina's fairytale run to an end in Final Four

South Carolina basketball made it all the way to the third weekend of the NCAA Tournament, but it could not make it to the final step.

And it came close after it looked like all was lost. The Gamecocks made a frantic second-half comeback, as they have so many times in the postseason. But it was not enough, as the No. 1-seeded Zags had too much in the end. The Gamecocks’ historic run halted Saturday afternoon in Arizona with a 77-73 heartbreaker at the hands of fellow first-time Final Four participant Gonzaga.

>> Visit SECCountry.com for more NCAA Tournament coverage

South Carolina rattled off a 16-0 run in the second half to take a 67-65 lead with 7:05 to play, but a Zach Collins 3-pointer and back-to-back Przemek Karnowski hoops flipped the game back for the Zags after the Gamecocks has seized control after missing it for the first 33 minutes of the game.

South Carolina kept it close down to the final seconds, but could not get a crucial hoop in the final 1:45 of the game when it was down one possession throughout. Gonzaga fouled Sindarius Thornwell with 3.5 seconds left. The senior made the first but missed the second and Gonzaga grabbed the rebound up two with 2.2 seconds left.

>> Read more trending news

Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie made a pair of free throws, ending the Gamecocks’ season.

Gonzaga came out of the locker room cruising in the first half, hitting 57.6 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from 3-point range. The Gamecocks tied the game twice in the first half — 26-26 and 31-31 — but both times the Zags swung the game right back in their favor with 3-pointers from Jordan Matthews.

Read more here.

Stunner! Mississippi State ends UConn’s 111-game win streak in NCAA semis

The smallest player on the court ended the biggest streak in college sports Friday night.

>> Read more trending news

Morgan William’s pull-up jump shot at the buzzer led Mississippi State to a stunning 66-64 overtime victory against four-time defending national champion Connecticut in the semifinals of the NCAA Women’s basketball tournament.

The loss ended UConn’s NCAA-record 111-game winning streak and the Huskies’ quest for a fifth consecutive national title.

“No one in the country thought that could happen,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. “We beat the greatest team with the greatest streak in the history of sports.”

The game-winning shot by William, a 5-foot-5 junior who finished with 13 points and six assists, sends Mississippi State into Sunday’s national title game against South Carolina. The game will be televised on ESPN at 6 p.m. EDT.

South Carolina trolls USA Today after beating Duke

Consider the 2017 NCAA Tournament party crashed after South Carolina’s upset win on Sunday night.

The Gamecocks took down No. 2 seed Duke in a game that many pundits had all but given the Blue Devils prior the the meeting in Greenville. After all, the South Carolina program had just won its first NCAA tournament game in 44 years and had never visited the Sweet 16. They’d be happy with just one win against Marquette, right? Wrong.

>> Read more trending news

In fact, USA Today was so confident that the Gamecocks would fold on Sunday that its sports account tweeted out a message after No. 1 seed Villanova fell to Wisconsin on Saturday, proclaiming: “Duke’s path to the Final Four looks ridiculously clear with Villanova’s loss.”

Let’s just say the fine folks at South Carolina bookmarked that tweet for future reference.

On Sunday night, in the moments following the Gamecocks’ historic victory, the school’s official Twitter account sent out this zinger to the news publication:

South Carolina will next play Baylor for a chance to advance to the Elite 8 for the first time in program history.

Louisville player mistakes TV sideline reporter for spy

It was a case of mistaken identity. Friday night Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino assured one of his players that the woman on the sidelines near the Cardinals’ huddle Friday night was not a spy, but a television reporter.

>> Read more trending news

Pitino, whose team advanced in the NCAA tournament with a 78-63 victory against Jacksonville State, said one of his players mistakenly thought CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson was stealing plays Friday for Jacksonville State.

"This is a very inexperienced team," Pitino told reporters. "We're down two scholarships. Our backcourt is a little thin. Show you how inexperienced we are, one of my players said, 'There's a lady in the huddle stealing our plays.' It's Tracy Wolfson."

CBS' Wolfson said via Twitter she found Pitino's assertion humorous, ESPN reported, although the coach apparently was not joking.

"They thought she was giving it to the other team," Pitino said. "I told [sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell], she's not doing that.”

Dayton sports columnist’s mustache gets national airtime

Tom Archdeacon is usually writing news, not making it, but he caught some airtime and the attention of one writer covering the NCAA tournament in Indianapolis on Friday.

>> Read more trending news

The longtime Dayton Daily News columnist drew attention from USA Today’s The Big Lead for his “glorious mustache.” While sitting behind CBS’ Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill, Archdeacon was on television and caught the notice of Kyle Koster from TBL.

“There was much to discuss at the top of the broadcast before tip-off and the trio did a nice job setting things up. Or so I guess. It was quite difficult to pay attention with Tom Archdeacon’s impressive mustache lurking in the background,” Koster said. It’s a tough look to pull off, but the Dayton Daily News “old-school storyteller” is doing just that. The Big Lede posted a link to Archdeacon’s archive of award-winning columns.

Archdeacon has made headlines before — he won the Society of Professional Journalists Sports Columnist of the Year in 2012 and 2013, beating out competition from national outlets like ESPN and Sports Illustrated. 

Photos: NCAA cheerleaders

They cheer on the teams at every NCAA game. Take a look at some of the cheerleaders you may see during March Madness.

2017 NCAA Tournament: Brackets, schedules, predictions, players to watch

Rejoice, college basketball fans: The 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket is officially out.

>> Click here to download your printable bracket (PDF)

Here's what you need to know about each region:

>> Read more trending news

 

2017 NCAA Tournament East Region

Bracket:

Here it is: the East Region #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/SENjhn4ryU— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The top four seeds are Villanova, Duke, Baylor and Florida. Potential sleepers in the region are SMU and Virginia. And the upset darlings could be UNC-Wilmington and East Tennessee State.Schedule:

  • No. 1 Villanova vs. Mt. Saint Mary’s/New Orleans, 7:10 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech, Approx 9:40 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 5 Virginia vs. No. 12 UNC-Wilmington,  12:40 p.m. on truTV, Thursday
  • No. 4 Florida vs. No. 13 East Tennessee State, Approx 3:10 p.m. on truTV, Thursday
  • No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Troy, 7:20 p.m. on TBS, Friday
  • No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 10 Marquette, Approx 9:50 p.m. on TBS, Friday
  • No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 New Mexico State, 12:40 p.m. on truTV, Friday
  • No. 6 SMU vs. No. 11 Providence/USC, Approx 3:10 p.m. on truTV, Friday

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 5 Virginia, No. 2 Duke vs. No. 6 SMU
  • Elite Eight: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 2 Duke
  • Final Four: No. 2 Duke

Players to watch:

  • Villanova’s Josh Hart: Hart was the Big East Player of the year and a key piece of last year’s national championship team.
  • Duke’s Luke Kennard: Kennard and Jayson Tatum helped lead Duke to the ACC Tournament title.
  • Baylor’s Jonathan Motley: Motley had a monster year for the Bears and is one of the best big men in the country.
  • Virginia’s London Perrantes: Perrantes was a key piece of last year’s Virginia team that went to the Elite Eight.

 

2017 NCAA Tournament West Region

Bracket:Time to make your picks in the West Region. #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/eQ1llCKWjX— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017

The No. 1 seed in the region is Gonzaga, which completed a 32-1 regular season, followed by Arizona at No. 2, Florida State at No. 3 and West Virginia as the No. 4 seed. The region also features teams that could pull an upset like No. 12 Princeton or No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast.Schedule:

  • No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 South Dakota State, 2 p.m. ET on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt, Approx 4:30 p.m. on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Princeton, 12:15 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 13 Bucknell, Approx 2:45 p.m. on CBS Thursday
  • No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 North Dakota, Approx 9:50 p.m. on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 7 Saint Mary’s vs. No 10. VCU, 7:20 p.m. ET on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast, Approx 9:20 p.m. on TNT, Thursday
  • No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Xavier, 6:50 p.m. on TNT, Thursday

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 6 Maryland
  • Elite 8: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 2 Arizona
  • Final Four: No. 1 Gonzaga

Players to watch:

  • Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss: Williams-Goss is one of the top point guards in the country and easily one of the best talents the Bulldogs have ever had.
  • Arizona’s Allonzo Trier: Trier’s return from an PED suspension helped change the trajectory of Arizona’s season and could get the Wildcats to the Final Four.
  • Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac: Isaac is one of the most talented players in the country and figures to be a top NBA draft pick.
  • Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski: Karnowski is more mountain than man as he’s listed at 7-foot-1 and 300 pounds. But he’s also an extremely skilled big (averaging 12.6 points, 6 rebounds).

 

2017 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region

Bracket: The Midwest Region #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/o1lYukeITh— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 12, 2017

The Kansas Jayhawks lead the way as the No. 1 seed, followed by Louisville, Oregon and Purdue to round out the top four. Lower seeds like Rhode Island or Nevada could prove to be bracket busters if they come to play later this week.Schedule: 

Thursday, March 16: 

  • No. 5 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Nevada (Milwaukee), 9 p.m., truTV
  • No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 Vermont (Milwaukee), 6:27 p.m., truTV

Friday, March 17: 

  • No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 N.C. Central -or- UC Davis (Tulsa, Okla.), 6:50 p.m., TNT
  • No. 8 Miami vs. No. 9 Michigan State (Tulsa, Okla.), 9:20 p.m., TNT
  • No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 Rhode Island (Sacramento, Calif.), 3:30 p.m., TBS
  • No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 14 Iona (Sacramento, Calif.), 1:00 p.m., TBS
  • No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State (Indianapolis), 11:15 a.m., CBS
  • No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 15 Jacksonville State (Indianapolis), 1:45 p.m., CBS

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 8 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Purdue, No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 2 Louisville
  • Elite Eight: No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 2 Louisville
  • Final Four: No. 2 Louisville

Players to watch:

  • Kansas’ Frank Mason: The Big 12 player of the year, Mason has had one of the best seasons in all of college basketball.
  • Oregon’s Dillon Brooks: Also a player of the year, but in the Pac 12, Brooks will need to have a standout tournament to compensate for the serious injury suffered by teammate Chris Boucher.
  • Michigan State’s Miles Bridges: Bridges will have Kansas sweating if both teams advance to the round of 32. He’s one of the most-athletic players in the country.
  • Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan: The third major conference player of the year winner in the Midwest Region, Swanigan laid waste to the Big Ten as the Boilermakers took home the regular-season conference crown.

 

2017 NCAA Tournament South Region

Bracket: 

Let's take a complete look at the South Region. #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/41ODmegBGQ— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017

The Tar Heels are somewhat of a surprise pick for the No. 1 seed. North Carolina fell to Duke twice, including in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, and the committee rewarded the Blue Devils with a No. 2 seed. Still, North Carolina is very deserving, having won the ACC regular-season title.

The region’s top four seeds are North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA and Butler.Schedule:

  • No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Texas Southern, Friday 2 p.m., truTV
  • No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Seton Hall, Friday 12:30 p.m., TNT
  • No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee, Thursday 3 p.m., TNT
  • No. 4 Butler vs. No. 13 Winthrop, Thursday 12:30 p.m. TNT
  • No. 6 Cincinnati vs. Kansas State/Wake Forest, Friday 7:27 p.m. truTV
  • No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 14 Kent State, 10 p.m., TNT, Friday
  • No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Wichita State, Friday 7:10 p.m., CBS
  • No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Northern Kentucky, Friday 9:40 p.m., CBS

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Minnesota, No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 UCLA
  • Elite Eight: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Kentucky
  • Final Four: No. 2 Kentucky

Players to watch:

  • Kentucky’s Malik Monk: A star freshman among young stars who helped lead the Wildcats to the SEC regular season and tournament championships.
  • UCLA’s Lonzo Ball: Projected to be one of the top picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-6 freshman averaged a very healthy 14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists for the Bruins.
  • North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks: Along with fellow upperclassmen Justin Jackson and Joel Berry IIMeeks led UNC to the regular-season ACC championship and could help take the Tar Heels back to the NCAA final.
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