Number 1 Seed Gonzaga held off number 7 seed South Carolina in a 77-73 win in the first game of the 2017 NCAA Final Four semifinals on Saturday, April 1st. Gonzaga built a comfortable lead of 65-51 midway through the second half. South Carolina began pressing and the Gamecocks reeled off 14 unanswered points, tying the game 65-65 and later took the lead after Rakym Felder scored a pair of free throws. Gonzaga finally kicked back into gear when Zach Collins converted a three-point jump shot, leading their team to never trail again. Gaining this win the Bulldogs advanced to their first championship game in the program’s history.

Number 1 seed North Carolina followed suit making their 20th Final Four appearance and second in a row while the 3rd seed Oregon Ducks were in their first Final Four since 1939. Kennedy Meeks capped off his career night with an offensive rebound that helped North Carolina hold off Oregon 77-76 and return to the NCAA championship game. Clinging to a one-point lead with 5.8 seconds remaining, the Tar Heels missed four straight free throws but managed to grab the rebounds after both of the misses in the back half. Meeks got the last one but threw the ball outside which allowed the Tar Heels to eliminate the Ducks from the Final Four.

The 8th national championship between two Number 1 seeds featured 46 made goals and 44 fouls. For the second year in a row the North Carolina Tar Heels could see their title hopes hanging in the balance. Gonzaga held the lead by as many as seven points during the first half, but the teams traded enough baskets that the Bulldogs went into the break with a three-point edge. The Tar Heels took over with a five-point lead in the first few minutes of the second half and continued until the closing moments. Gonzaga was trailing by three points when Williams-Goss had his jumper blocked with 15 seconds remaining. Berry gathered the loose ball and found Jackson for a national title-cementing dunk 3 seconds later. The Gonzaga’s were left heartbroken while the Tar Heels finished on an 8-0 run to earn their first championship since 2009.



With the Olympics beginning August 5th and the nation gearing up to support our beloved athletes, we look at some of the bigger storylines of this year’s Rio Olympics. There is no shortage of stories surrounding this year’s Olympics, between athletes refusing to go because of the Zika virus, all the way to golf, sevens rugby, and kitesurfing being added. Not much can compete with the storylines made during the Olympics because of the heartbreak and triumphs, but here are some of the stories to keep an eye on for the upcoming global event.

Michael Phelps Return

He’s back! Arguably the greatest Olympic athlete ever, certainly the most decorated Olympian ever with 22 medals, 18 of which being gold. In 2012 after the London Olympics, Phelps retired from competitive swimming. In 2014 he announced he was coming out of retirement, to swim again. This was a long way from the Olympics and Phelps was not in peak shape by any stretch but he wanted this. Phelps was hoping to get back to the Olympic spotlight but first came training then the 2015 US Nationals. Phelps ended up winning three events, at the same time he put up the fastest times for each event in the world. Then in the winter of 2015 Phelps swam in the Winter Nationals, winning the same three events. He then swam in the US Trials for the 200m butterfly, 200m individual medley, and the 100m butterfly, all of these he won and qualified for his fifth Olympic games. Michael Phelps can add to his legacy at Rio, but he also has the opportunity to go out on top, how he’d like too.

U.S. Women’s Triumph

At the Olympics, the US Women dominate sports like soccer, basketball, and gymnastics to just name a few. To give you some background, the US women’s basketball team is going for a sixth straight gold medal, and the soccer team is going for a fourth consecutive gold. If that isn’t defined as dominate, then I’m not quite sure what is. The US is also the reigning gold-medal winner in women’s gymnastics thanks to the “Fierce Five”, the women’s water polo team and rowing team also brought home gold in 2012. All three of these teams are in turn the same from the 2012 games and all are favored in their events. One athlete to really keep an eye on is Claressa Shields who at just 17 years old won the gold at the 2012 games in London for boxing. She is returning for the Rio games and is on a mission to prove to everyone that she is the best in the sport.

Russia and Zika

If you have seen the news in the past month, I am betting you’ve heard of Russian Olympic team using performance enhancing drugs in 2012 and I am sure you’ve heard of Zika virus. I’ll begin by saying I hope that none of the Olympic athletes from anywhere in the world even come close to getting the Zika virus so let’s look a little further into this. Zika is primarily spread through a mosquito bite and Rio is the epicenter of it. There has been a list of athletes that have turned down the opportunity to compete because of this virus. There is no vaccine for Zika either, which is a big concern for many. Some symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, and headache.  All of these can be very detrimental to an Olympic athlete. On another note, a number of Russian athletes will not be at Rio, 118 to be exact. They will have 271 competing but in some events, they will have zero representation. Russia as a nation is not happy, but there is nothing they can do now as the Olympics kick off August 5th. One thing is for sure as the team has mentioned, this is motivation to go out and prove to the Olympic Committee and the world, that Russia is no longer doping and wants to win.

It took an extra day for March to come this year, but with the day finally here it’s time to get excited about March Madness. While there’s still quite a lot of parody in college basketball thanks to the continuing “one and done’s”, it makes for predicting who will advance to the Final Four and winning the national championship hard. We’re still a bit of a ways off from that (we’ll at least let the brackets be set first) but there’s no shame in saying who needs to win during the final week of the regular season this week and make some noise during conference title games next week. So sit back, relax and let Water Cooler Talk help you be the sports guru of the office this week.


Remember when this team came out of nowhere a few years ago and made two consecutive championship games? Then head coach, Brad Stevens was a huge part of that, and then he left to coach the NBA’s Boston Celtics. Butler has held their own since his departure, but they’ve come down to earth and are again looked at as a mid-conference team. I had the privilege of watching this team in last year’s tournament when they lost in OT to Notre Dame in the Round of 32. Despite the loss, I thought this team would make quite a bit of noise for the 2015-16 season. Looks can be deceiving however as they’re currently on the outside looking in. One big win is on their resume, that was a win against Purdue in December. Overall on the season however, Butler is just 2-7 against the RPI top 50. The Big East isn’t the powerhouse conference we once knew it was, but the prestige of the conference doesn’t matter, it’s winning the conference title that counts to lock your position in the dance.


The Wolverines play NBA basketball, which hasn’t equated to as many wins as they could or should have. Their defense is lackluster at best and their front court is sketchy, but this team can shoot the lights out from long range. They easily have 4 players that spell danger from beyond the 3-point line and can easily burst plenty of brackets if they’re able to get to the dance. They have quality wins to include victories over Texas, NC State, Purdue and Maryland but the strength of schedule is a major weakness. A win against Iowa on Sunday will be a nice boost heading into the Big Ten Tournament, which begins on Wednesday. A trip to the championship game in the conference tournament may be enough to punch their ticket to the dance.