Final Four filled with Pacific Northwest storylines - KPTV - FOX 12

Final Four filled with Pacific Northwest storylines

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Image: KPTV Image: KPTV
GLENDALE, AZ (KPTV) -

There are plenty of Pacific Northwest storylines at this year's Final Four.

Of course, there's the Oregon Ducks facing the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday night with a chance to play for the National Championship on the line.  

The last time the University of Oregon made it this far was when the Webfoots won it all in 1939.

"We don't want to stop here. We want to win a National Championship so we have to beat North Carolina and that's what we are preparing to do," said freshman point guard Payton Pritchard.

The last Pac-12 team to reach the Final Four was UCLA back in 2008.

"It has been a number of years since the Pac-12 has had a representative in the Final Four, so we are mostly proud for the University of Oregon, but we are part of the Pac-12 and that is significant to our players and our coaching staff," said coach Dana Altman.

North Carolina is favored over Oregon on Saturday, but the Ducks say that doesn't bother them.

"We haven't been the favorite a lot of games going into this tournament. We aren't worried about it. We are the underdog and we take that mentality into every game," said sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey.

On the other side of the bracket is Gonzaga. The Bulldogs of Spokane are making their first ever appearance in the Final Four.

Coach Mark Few, a University of Oregon alumnus from Creswell, is in his 18th season leading Gonzaga's basketball program.

"My stance all along was like, you've got to be good enough. Then, eventually, it's going to happen," he said of reaching the Final Four.

Gonzaga has other Oregon connections as well, including guard Nigel Williams-Goss hailing from Happy Valley and guard Silas Melson growing up in Portland.

Melson was a state champion at Jefferson High School.

"Got to embrace it. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. You never know when you'll have this again so you have got to embrace all 75,00 people that are going to be out there and just have fun with it," Melson said.

Williams-Goss said there's no question who his friends back home are rooting for if Oregon and Gonzaga both advance to the finals.

"All of my friends are Zag fans, so if it's split between us and the Ducks, then they're not really my friends," he said.

Gonzaga meets South Carolina at 3:09 p.m. Saturday, followed by Oregon vs. North Carolina at around 6 p.m.

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