Elite Eight of NCAA Tournament to be finalized Friday
- Author: Julie Sanders Mar 28, 2017,
Mar 28, 2017, 10:44
Or it might be something entirely different, as SC has found a new level of play in this NCAA Tournament, and Florida established itself as unkillable by somehow escaping the Sweet Sixteen with an all-time buzzer-beater against Wisconsin on Friday.
The occasion certainly calls for a celebration and that's what will surely be going on at South Carolina's campus well into the night. The two met in one of the best games of the regular season, with the Wildcats defeating the Tar Heels 103-100.
The second game featured first seeded North Carolina take on second seeded Kentucky.
The East Region - the one that busted so many brackets during opening weekend - will also pick its finalists on Friday. Wisconsin will look to follow up on an upset win over top-seeded Villanova when it faces Florida.
SC opened the second half on a 12-6 run to get the lead to 49-28.
"Personally, I didn't know where this program could go", Gamecocks sophomore P.J. Dozier said after his team's 77-70 win over Florida.
SC will meet the victor of the Wisconsin-Florida game on Sunday with a trip to the Final Four at stake.
SC added a missing piece to its rich basketball history.
"Gamecock Nation, we heard you loud and clear", coach Frank Martin roared as the team prepared to cut down the nets. Problem is, there was seemingly always a bigger team from a bigger conference standing in the way of that program - from a campus of 7,400 in Spokane, Washington - taking the final step.
The Gamecocks went on a 16-0 run that lasted 7:44 in the first half. They were trying for their third Elite Eight appearance. "And each year we got better and better, and then we got really, really good". Luke Maye made the winning jumper with 0.3 seconds left for a 75-73 victory over Kentucky.
They have spent the past year seeing their nightmare finish to the 2016 tournament replayed on an endless loop of highlight shows and March Madness videos. "It's a good feeling when we continue to make history and I think once we get a taste of it, we kind of get addicted and want to continue doing it". "I wish I could get those 4 seconds back, but I can't".