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 Gonzaga Bulldogs, for the first time ever.
The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, will be hosting 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. Regular season Zags victim 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.
With tournament mainstays like UNC and Kansas on the other side of the bracket, fans are in for a rich display of talent no matter what. Like always, the tournament has dealt us some upsets and bracket-busters and shown us which of the top seeds, like the Bulldogs, really have what it takes to go all the way.
How to watch on TV
Semifinals (Saturday, April 1)
Gonzaga vs. South Carolina, 3:09 p.m. PT, CBS
North Carolina vs. Oregon, 5:30 p.m. PT, CBS
National championship (Monday, April 3)
Semifinal winners, 6 p.m. PT, CBS