Frank Martin and South Carolina's surprising Cinderella story written by senior trio

Mar 25, 2017, 00:36

Louisville coach Jeff Walz remembers it more fondly as the Cardinals went on to earn their second Final Four berth. "No, that's an exaggeration", Baylor Coach Scott Drew said.

OUR PREDICTION: The Gamecocks had a distinct advantage in the first two rounds while playing in their backyard of Greenville, S.C. With the East Region shifting to Madison Square Garden in NY tonight, SC will no longer have that sort of advantage. "And at the end of the year they said, 'Why would you always laugh when this was asked?' I said because you guys thought that you were trying to find a reason why I was going to fail, and what you didn't understand is that you were paying me the ultimate compliment that anyone could be paid, which is you were calling me an educator". I've been in other leagues. We discussed which players to keep an eye on in the nightcap between Wisconsin and Florida.

The Bears will play at Madison Square Garden for the first time since winning the NIT in 2013.

Drew's brother, Bryce, just finished his first coaching season at Vanderbilt, another SEC school.

Three times previously at the Final Four, the Gators were one altered outcome from meeting an SEC rival in the NCAA title game.

"(Martin) told us just to continue to listen to him", Thornwell said. "But our sophomore year we kind of rode together and were able it get that win".

In his first two NCAA tournament games, Thornwell averaged 26.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, helping No. 7 SC to reach the Sweet 16 and become its most surprising participant.

And it's well-taught. For the first two weeks of practice, according to his players, Martin didn't let them even hold a basketball.

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Coach Frank Martin's men's team, this year's Cinderella as conqueror of Duke, plays Friday night against Baylor in the Mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden.

"You can't get one or two; you have to get three really good players at the same time", said English, whose highly rated recruiting class at SC included Mike Dunleavy, who played for four National Basketball Association teams and coached four others.

California coach Lindsay Gottlieb really didn't have to watch to know just how good top-seeded Baylor is. The Bears committed 29 turnovers in a blowout loss to the Mountaineers earlier this season. He never ran away when we didn't win games.

"Their defense is unbelievable", Wainright said. One player they will be relying on to counter that attack is Devin Robinson. "And I didn't really have an answer for him, because we all know what SC is capable of". But I can't force people to do what I want them to do.

Although the stakes increase with each round, Louisville's frontcourt players will likely bring the same mentality into this next challenge that brought them here in the first place. "I don't think this is a one-hit wonder". The Bears' bench averaged 20.2 points per game during the season, but that's been boosted to 33.5 points in their two NCAA Tournament wins. Anything can happen, and Xavier isn't a team that Arizona can sleep on, which they know.

"It's real cool, especially being in an historic place", Wainright said.

Thanks to his father, we're watching Ball more closely than we would've been.

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