The South Carolina men's basketball team got a rousing welcome home late Sunday night, as the team returned to Columbia after earning their first Final Four berth in school history.
South Carolina, a team that finished third in a maligned SEC, hadn't won an NCAA tournament game in 44 years until nine days ago. OR an underdog of 4.5 against North Carolina.
Florida State head coach Sue Semrau claps after her team scored against SC during the first half of a regional final game of the women's NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, March 27, 2017, in Stockton, C.
If you had SC reaching the Final Four in your NCAA Tournament bracket, you are lying, an alum of the school or related to someone on the team. The women play Stanford in Dallas on Friday. They would tie the game up with a contested three to end regulation. That year they went on and won the national championship, which they haven't done since. They needed 65 possessions to get those 60 against OR, which put a wall around the basket in the form of Jordan Bell (11 points, 13 rebounds, eight blocks). The former Berkeley High School and Gamecocks football and basketball player was on Frank Martin's first SC team. That guy has been in college for about 10 years, it seems, and he is the winningest player in the history of Division I basketball.
"We definitely made a statement that the Gators are no joke and they're definitely coming back and they're building their program back to where it used to be", forward Devin Robinson said.
With pre-tournament odds at 200-to-1, the South Carolina Gamecocks somehow snuck away from their football-frenzy family and made it to University of Phoenix Stadium, albeit with an ultra-tough escort in head coach Frank Martin. Freshman forward Maik Kotsar was playing for something much more personal: a chance to see his parents for the first time in almost a year. The Ducks haven't made it this far since winning the 1939 title.
28,373 brackets were filled out across our 21 CBS Local sites and not one of them got the entire Final Four correct.
The Tar Heels (31-7) will play Midwest champ OR on Saturday in Glendale, Arizona, in the national semifinal.
North Carolina will be the prohibitive favorite to win it all heading into next weekend's games, the team with the most experience and the team that's focused all season on getting back to the title game to take care of what it views as some serious unfinished business. They like to pound the rock inside to their post players and let their guards slash to the basket.
Keeping with the theme from the previous stat, there were a lot of people who didn't expect SC to make it to the Final Four. There are team activities, lots of media commitments and constant attention. "Now we just need to go and continue to play well".
Williams said Maye's game-winner isn't redemption for the Villanova loss but noted he yelled at Paige after this win. "Just they just didn't fall for us". "All the teams have high-profile players who have been very successful and were recruited really hard by several schools". But, don't underestimate them. When I asked him if the moment was everything he had dreamed it to be, he was introspective and emotional, as he was throughout his press conference. "They've got the strength and the depth to go all the way, I think".
"The general distraction meter is going to go out the roof", he said. They are also a good rebounding team although FSU is statistically better.
While the Gamecocks had four players in double figures, Florida ran into the same dilemma as Marquette, Duke and Baylor in trying to contain Thornwell, who leads all NCAA Tournament scorers with 103 points in four games. Williams said the travel itinerary might help.
"What Coach (Semrau) was telling us was to come grab the game", Leticia Romero said. "I feel like we still got the same shots. So just, her just being in my ear and telling me what's right and what's wrong".
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