"Now we just need to go and continue to play well". "But I do care who wins".
Luke Maye's 18-footer from the left wing with 0.3 seconds left lifted the top-seeded Tar Heels to a 75-73 win over second-seeded Kentucky for the South Region championship Sunday at FedEx Forum.
Beat Carolina, the top seed in the South, and Kentucky would be likely be favored to topple OR and then either Gonzaga OR SC at the Final Four, which begins in Phoenix Saturday.
OR and North Carolina are set to square off in the second semifinal, with tipoff set for 5:49 p.m. In that final minute, three-pointers by De'Aaron Fox and Monk plus that second Monk three-pointer had resulted in a 73-73 tie with nine seconds left, sending Kentucky fans into a tizzy.
Photo: Getty ImagesHOW CAN I GET THE MARCH MADNESS APP?
Luke Maye is the hero this time, hitting a shot to beat Kentucky with less than a second remaining in regulation. "It was a great feeling".
After Maye's shot, the Wildcats (32-6) had one last chance, but Derek Willis' length-of-the-court inbounds pass almost hit the bottom of the scoreboard and sailed out of bounds. With the Tar Heels' bang-bang play of their own, with Pinson finding Maye, perhaps the Tar Heels have finally moved beyond that moment. Meanwhile the Wildcats are riding high after beating UCLA, who they took a mid-season loss to earlier in the year. Bam Adebayo and Fox each had 13 points, and Monk, the Southeastern Conference player of the year, finished with 12. Fox and Adebayo wept side by side in the locker room.
"People question our toughness all the time", Pinson said, "but we come out and fight".
Yet, once this season began, Humphries just never really seemed to get going.
2017 NCAA Tournament, Elite Eight schedule, tip times, TV information, bracket & more. This is their fourth regional final against one another.
Gonzaga opened as a 6 1/2-point favorite against SC in the opening game next Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
After defeating Kentucky on Sunday, North Carolina advances to the Final Four of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament to face OR, while SC upset Florida on Sunday and will face Gonzaga when March Madness continues Saturday.
Neither Fox nor Monk faced the aggravation of Adebayo, who missed a dunk, had a tip-in disallowed because of a basket interference call and had another basket waved off after being called for an offensive foul. His two threes in the second half helped Butler made a late run, but it ultimately fell short. The South Carolina vs Florida game stream will air on CBS, but nowadays there are ways to watch CBS without cable.
On the negative side, the Tar Heels had seven first half turnovers. Lower seeds Notre Dame, Michigan and Iowa State all had more support to win the regional final.
Kentucky (32-6) won the regular-season matchup of these teams, 103-100, in Las Vegas in December as their freshmen guards struggled to perform on Sunday. With 7:27 to play, Fox and Monk, who'd combined for 60 points versus the Bruins, had 14 between them - and somehow the Heels trailed. As of Sunday evening, North Carolina is considered a 4.5-point favorite over Oregon. This will be the Tar Heels' fifth trip to the Final Four under the guidance of coach Roy Williams, and their second straight.
JOEL BERRY II: Yeah, he's a force on the blocking.
The junior point guard rolled his right ankle during the first-round win against Texas Southern.
Kentucky played without its fabulous freshmen for a big chunk of the half.
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