NCAA Tournament roundup: SC surprises Baylor


Scouting reports aren't really necessary.

The words jumped from the transcript of SC basketball coach Frank Martin's news conference following his team's Sunday night victory over Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament's East Regional.

"He's the leader. Without him, who knows where SC would be?" said Florida forward Justin Leon. To get there, they accomplished some impressive feats, including a 10-3 nonconference slate complete with wins over fellow Sweet Sixteen participant MI and and an admittedly-down Syracuse team. The skip passes to force hasty rotations were there, but Lecomte, Motley, et al. didn't see them. They're all pretty fundamentally sound. "We wanted to speed them up".

"I just felt like I disappointed coach and I let him down because I knew my team relied on me", he said.

The only other team that's tasted even a Sweet 16 was Furman in 1974, and that Paladins squad got there with just one win, which happened to come against SC.

Arguably the Tigers' best team lost to CT on a buzzer beater in 1990 in the Sweet 16, and Clemson's 1997 squad made it to that same point before bowing out against Minnesota. "In that in-between practice, because of the time we got back and how soon we had to play, we went on the court and we did nothing but shoot balls and walk through things and talk about what we needed to do". "Now, y'all gave us the stage to do it, and we're just showcasing what we've been doing all season". He broke out with a career-high 35 points in the regional semifinal.

You figured at some point, SC (25-10) would just be happy to be here, especially after not getting a bid previous year following a 25-win season. It was South Carolina's first win over its old ACC foe since December 12, 1970.

We'll see what the Elite Eight of Saturday and Sunday hold. SC was the top seed, with the SEC player of the Year and Naismith candidate. One more and it's on to the Final Four.

Following their 70-50 loss to SC in the Sweet 16, this would be the last time this group would play together.

"Stuffing her mouth with Lifesavers, I think that's a switch".

SC was even more focused in the third quarter, putting up numbers that are hard to believe. "They have guys flying all over the place".

"We're not satisfied with just winning one game or this game", said Southeastern Conference player of the year Sindarius Thornwell after the Gamecocks advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1973. "They shut Baylor down all night long". Baylor is one of 13 teams to reach the Sweet 16 at least four times since 2010. They protect the rim.

And they certainly didn't just show up and sit on their hands, either. "They don't back down".

Baylor head coach Scott Drew said that it was hard for his team to find an offensive rhythm after a slow start.

Martin said Thornwell was not almost as committed as a freshman or sophomore to working the right way.

And, surprisingly, the Blue Devils, like Villanova, got their asses bounced by a mid-tier team from a conference few (ACC-slanted writers) expected to make much noise in the tournament. "We don't get out of the way". It's more likely to be a low scoring game, but Florida won't be surprised by the Gamecocks as they are more familiar with their game style, so they might push the scoring to over.

The seventh-seeded Gamecocks (25-10) face the victor of the other semifinal between Wisconsin and Florida in Sunday's regional final. Two years later, Martin was lured to SC because, in his words to ESPN early Monday morning, "I just believed in the people that hired me".

"We're both two tough defensive teams and we take pride in the defensive end", White said after beating the Badgers with an overtime buzzer-beater.

Chiozza can't help but smile even 12 hours after hitting his game-winning 3. "I'm not making that mistake this time".

It's pronounced Kwihn'-a-pee-ack, and if you think you've heard of the school in Hamden Conn., it might be because because it's is well-known for its national political polls.

Chris Chiozza's three-point floater as time expired in overtime lifted Florida past Wisconsin, 84-83, in Sweet 16 action from NY.