"We need to approach it much like we approached every game of the season although the stakes are a little bit higher", said SC coach Dawn Staley. "He hadn't been in the NCAA Tournament, but he had been a head coach for four years and won over a hundred games, Been coach of the year (in Conference USA) three times". Their path to the Final Four has surely been the toughest and they're the lowest seed standing, and here they are, steamrolling all comers.
Both programs also used the share a conference, the now-defunct Metro Conference, from 1983 until 1991, when FSU and SC departed for the ACC and SEC, respectively.
"We're playing a team we know", said coach Frank Martin, who has led the Gamecocks further through the NCAA bracket than they have ever been. In 17 years not to get one call at midnight that your guys did something insane or not to have to break up a fight in the locker room or deal with man, I'm going to transfer if I don't play more. And I'm not about that. I know Florida State nearly beat the Huskies earlier this season.
SC won't back down. Not only are the Ducks explosive offensively, particularly when Tyler Dorsey gets going, they're also a menace on the defensive end if Jordan Bell continues his shot-blocking ways.
They were a slight favorite against Marquette in the opening round but were a decided underdog against second-seeded Duke in the round of 32.
The Gamecocks believe that the schedule they faced in the SEC was hard, and prepared them for this moment. But, he attempted to downplay the role past year will play on this tournament, believing the current generation of players are more experienced and prepared for the spotlight. "Kentucky beat Alabama in the semifinals ... in an absolute brawl". As you can imagine, that wasn't much of a reward at all. And the opinion was, 'Well, Kentucky just sneaks by again. People will play (experience) up if they choose to.
As it goes with supply and demand, hotels are charging about double what they typically would do during a weekend, with prices on most are upwards of $200.
But that disrespect isn't likely to disappear anytime soon. The Gators are the most recent NCAA basketball team to win back-to-back national championships. The Gamecocks hadn't made the Dance since 2004 and had never even made the Elite Eight before. In the next round, SC will face one-seed Gonzaga for a chance to play in the national championship.
OR coach Dana Altman said he spoke on the phone with old coaching friends Lon Kruger and Mike Montgomery to gain some insight on how to balance basketball with everything else. "But I also think they missed some shots. They defend as such a high level". "Is football incredible? Absolutely. But SEC basketball's pretty special as well". While the Ducks were not the most likely team to make the Final Four, BPI expected an average of 3.3 of those 14 teams would make the Final Four in a typical year, and three made it this season.
But perhaps the slap in the face isn't such a bad thing. Roy Williams of North Carolina has been there before work both Kansas and North Carolina. And it's provided motivation.
"We got to fix, I guess you'd say, point guard play".
Martin: "First of all, a lot of respect to you. that's a heck of a question. So we definitely use that as motivation".