Duke dives into SC territory in second round

Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports

It was an upset, a No. 7 seed unseating a No. 2.

Riding the emotion of their first NCAA Tournament victory in 44 years two nights ago, the seventh-seeded Gamecocks upset No. 2 Duke 88-81 at raucous Bon Secours Wellness Arena, joining No. 3 Baylor, No. 4 Florida and No. 8 Wisconsin in the regional at the Garden.

Of course, the political aspect of the site changing from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Greenville - HB2 - is well known by now, and it again became a major talking point after Duke and SC won their respective first-round games, setting up a virtual road game for the second-seeded Blue Devils.

I didn't dare say it out loud, because while I'm pretty sure my own sports fan arrogance doesn't affect the balance of the universe in such a way that it might have snapped Sindarius Thornwell's hamstrings, you can never be too sure.

Duke and SC are expected to tip off from Greenville around 8:40 p.m. Prior to their victory over Marquette on March 17, SC hadn't won a NCAA tournament game since 1973. Then there's the ACC and North Carolina flying solo through the first week.

The Gamecocks, contrary to a red-hot Duke team that has won five straight, have dropped six of their last 10 contests. Because every game is sudden death, Olson added: "March Madness is the most intense tournament of any of 'em".

"They can't put that into a formula to come out with a percentage chance to win, and that's the things we have". Years in the independent wilderness before finally seeking new conference homes took a heavy toll. Despite correctly predicting No. 8 Wisconsin would upend No. 1 Villanova on Saturday afternoon, the user's streak ended later in the evening, on the tournament's 40th game, when No. 5 Iowa State fell to No. 4 Purdue. "It disrupted them", said coach Staley. It probably helps them because it's nice to hear people cheering for you.

The reality of what he inherited flummoxed Martin.

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Four players are averaging at least 9.8 points per game for SC, they are: Thornwell (21.0), PJ Dozier (13.6), Duane Notice (10.1) and Chris Silva (9.8) per game. "It's one of those stats that you're like how is that happening?"

Oregon's jump-shot heavy attack somewhat resembles the offense Duke faced from Syracuse in two wins this season. How does Eddie Fogler, Dave Odom?

Notice has struggled with his shot at times this season, so much that Martin has fielded questions about sitting him down.

"Our guys were nervous to start the game", Martin said.

"I thought the ball was going to find who needed it at the time", Wilson said. "It was cold some games". "It's not a good taste that we have in our mouths right now, but we have to get to work because we want to come back". "Those are the fans that we really appreciate". The men's team set school records for overall attendance (241,126) and average attendance (13,396) this season.

"We're not satisfied", he said. "I knew if we could build it - and it was a big if - but if we could build it and we play the kind of basketball that I like my team to play, that our fans would absolutely love it. We're not there yet, but it's starting to happen".

SC advances to the East region semifinal against No. 3 seed Baylor, set for 7:29 p.m. Friday at Madison Square Garden.

SC fans finally seem to have rediscovered its basketball roots. Two 3-pointers in a row from the Gamecocks sent the crowd to their feet and forced the Sun Devils to take a time out.

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