And then there was just one. Little known junior transfer from Melbourne, Ran Tut, is Australia’s lone male who has made it to the NCAA Final Four despite a heroic effort by Kentucky’s Isaac Humphries.
#7 South Carolina vs #1 Gonzaga | Ran Tut
When the Final Four was determined, there remained just one lone representative from down under in contention to win a first ever NCAA men’s Championship for Australia: Ran Tut and South Carolina.
Little known Tut, a junior transfer forward from Melbourne, has played in just 12 games this season to average 1 point in 5.1 minutes per game. Having made his way to the Gamecocks via Victory Rock and then Monroe College, the 6’9 Tut has yet to step onto the court for any post-season action and that will likely be the case again in the Final Four.
The Gamecocks advanced to their first ever Final Four after accounting for #2 Baylor 70-50, and then delivering an even more impressive 77-70 win against the #4 Florida Gators in the Elite 8. It was a thrilling contest with 10 ties and 14 lead changes, as the Gamecocks came out on top in the final minute. Their length and athleticism make them a great team to watch, and it was their zone defense that helped them deliver the win against the Gators.
Gonzaga will be favoured to win, however nobody can rule out the Gamecocks in this one which is sure to be close.
The Dance is over
Elite 8 | #2 Kentucky | Isaac Humphries
So close yet so far. #2 Kentucky fell agonisingly short of toppling #1 North Carolina, going down 73-75. Isaac Humphries was almost the Wildcats saviour, firstly in keeping Kentucky in the game, and then helping them challenge for the win. Humphries would go on to deliver one of his biggest games on the biggest stage, compiling a new career-best 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting alongside 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Just as it looked the Wildcats may come away with a win, Tar Heel Luke Maye hit a jumper with 0.3 seconds left to steal the win and prevent the Wildcats from progressing to the Final Four.
For his outstanding performance, Humphries was named to the All-NCAA South Region Team. It was an otherwise disappointing season for the sophomore center, who played small minutes off the bench in a season which promised so much.
Elite 8 | #4 Florida | Gorjok Gak
Florida’s impressive run in the 2017 NCAA Tournament came to an end at the hands of a red-hot #7 South Carolina. The Gators fell short 70-77, with little used freshman forward Gorjak Gak logging 8 minutes for 2 rebounds. It was a tight game, but the Gamecocks pulled away in the final minute to win.
Sweet 16 | #2 Arizona | Keanu Pinder
The Cardinal’s dance ended at the hands of #11 Xavier who continue to cause upsets. The Musketeers got up early, and while Arizona fought back and had their chances to steal the win, it was not to be as they fell 71-73. Forward Keanu Pinder only saw 4 minutes of action off the bench for 2 fouls.
Sweet 16 | #3 Baylor | Jo Lual-Acuil Jr
Baylor ran into a red-hot South Carolina outfit who ended their NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16. It was a case of the Gamecocks’ superior defensive execution driving their offense as they would run out convincing 70-50 winners. Jo Lual-Acuil Jr would finish the season by delivering 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block.