South Carolina has confounded the experts throughout the tournament. In fact, I took Marquette to beat them in the first round, and have wagered against them in each round since.

But this is what makes the NCAA tournament great…and not-so-great all at the same time. Everyone loves an underdog and make no mistake about it, the Gamecocks fit the bill of an underdog. The tournament is nicknamed March Madness for this very reason and it’s why it’s one of the most popular times of the year for sports.

Part of me hates this, too, as a once avid regular season college basketball fan. The regular season really doesn’t matter anymore. This tournament isn’t about finding the best college basketball teams. It’s all about finding the hottest college basketball teams.

From Feb. 7 to March 10, South Carolina lost six games. In that same period, South Carolina only won three games. That doesn’t exactly scream best overall college basketball team.

But that’s not what college basketball is all about anymore. It’s about getting into the tournament and getting hot.

And now they’re hot and making life tough on handicappers.

Here’s the best bets for the Final Four.

South Carolina is making life tough on handicappers. Flickr

South Carolina vs. Gonzaga (-6.5)

There are times to admit when you’re wrong. And then there are times to just double down on your perception and move forward.

I’m doubling down.

Gonzaga is the better team. It has been the better team all season and got the monkey off its back during the West Virginia game. The Bulldogs showed toughness that wasn’t there in previous years and that will be needed against the Gamecocks.

There have been times that South Carolina hasn’t been able to score this season. And Gonzaga’s new-look defense should be able to stymie the Gamecocks. South Carolina can’t match up with Gonzaga’s size, so as the game wears on, I expect Gonzaga to pull away. — Go Chalk with Gonzaga

Oregon (+5) vs. North Carolina

I’ve been saying this the entire tournament, and at some point, I believe I will be proven right.

This Tar Heels team isn’t as good as last year. They’re still good, but the ability to pull away from teams isn’t the same as last year’s runner-up squad.

North Carolina could have easily lost two games this tournament (Arkansas and Kentucky), but to their credit, have survived and are once again in the Final Four. Oregon creates severe matchup problems and can handle the Tar Heels size better than most.

The Ducks have stars and athletes who can keep up with North Carolina. I like this game to be close, so I’m taking the points. — Go Against The Chalk with Oregon

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