South Carolina Stuns Duke

And we all should have seen it coming.

Duke lost, quite simply, because their roster is - was - flawed, and the individual talent amongst their ranks was not enough to overcome it. In fact according to ESPN, South Carolina's 65 second half points were the most scored in a single half against a Krzyzewski-coached Blue Devil team ...

Before blowing out Marquette 93-73 in the first round a few days, SC hadn't won an NCAA tournament game since that '73 trip to the Sweet 16.

The Blue Devils have now exited the tournament before the Sweet 16 five times in the last 11 seasons, and have reached the Elite Eight just three times in the past 13.

"You don't trick your way into the NCAA tournament", Martin said Saturday.

A 3-pointer gave the Golden Eagles their largest lead of the first half, 26-16, forcing head coach Frank Martin to take a timeout with 9:20 left.

Varnado posted 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Trojans, while Person finished with 15 points. Senior Sindarius Thornwell (29) and sophomore PJ Dozier (21) combined for 51 points on 19-of-33 (58 percent) shooting.

Kennard, Allen and Giles all have hard choices to make on their National Basketball Association draft decisions, but all could use another year of college to polish and refine their games.

"[South Carolina] played a heck of a game", Krzyzewski said after the game. "That brings energy. We like playing in buildings where it's loud".

ASU (20-13) led for more than 15 minutes and at times had SC on the ropes.

Thornwell, the SEC player of the year, carried the Gamecocks into the Sweet 16 with a game-best 24 points as SC shocked Duke in the second half after shooting 20 percent in the first. Holmes grabbed the rebound, missed her first shot, grabbed the rebound then made the second to seal the win.

But most of all, this was not supposed to be a year Duke was vulnerable.

It's expected it will be the same against Duke in a regional that was moved from North Carolina to SC because of the state of North Carolina's HB2 law. The game was in Greenville, S.C., meaning that there wasn't a shortage of Gamecock fans in the building. SC turned Duke over 18 times and allowed the Blue Devils to shoot 37% beyond the arc.

The crowd was on their feet during another bracket buster in Greenville.

In evaluating the totality of the 2016-17 season, this had to be one of the most unfulfilling seasons ever for the Blue Devils. The "House that Frank built" went into relatively quick decline after the Gamecocks divorced themselves from what they considered an abusive relationship with Tobacco Road in 1971.

"I thought we would come back the whole game", Allen said. Duke, who just won the ACC Tournament and was considered a favorite to win March Madness, got smacked around by a No. 7 seeded team. "If they lose, that's probably even better".

Villanova's players looked nervous and played that way, and when Long threaded a no-look pass to Chris Wray for an easy basket to put the Mountaineers ahead 23-20, two seminarians - one of them clutching Rosary beads - from the tiny school in Emmitsburg, Maryland, high-fived in the stands.

They couldn't run offense when they needed to run offense.

"He pump-faked, and I knew he had to shoot it so I just went up and tried to block it", Adebayo said.

They were super-talented, but Coach K had himself a flawed roster, one that lacked a defensive backbone and a true point guard. "I'll admit it, we won games in November and December, but most of our teams weren't that much better than teams in other leagues".

  • Julie Sanders