If your bracket looked anything like mine, you quickly glanced at the South Carolina vs. Marquette match up in the first round of the tournament and quickly decided that you knew nothing about the Gamecocks, and chose Marquette to advance to the second round. If you did choose them to beat Marquette, you would have been crazy to pick them to beat Duke, and Baylor, and then Florida. Each year we truly see the ‘Madness’ shine, and this year did not disappoint as South Carolina played their way to the first Final Four in school history.
Tomorrow night the Gamecocks will take on Gonzaga in a historic Final Four battle, as it will be each team’s first appearance on the big stage. Both teams excel defensively, as Gonzaga has held opponents to 59 points per game in the tournament, and South Carolina is No. 2 in the country in points off turnovers. Both teams are also led by superstars, as South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell and Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss can each takeover the game at any point in time. Surely, we will be in for another magical night in college basketball.
I mentioned earlier that I didn’t know much about South Carolina basketball before this magical run, but it has been an absolute treat to get to learn more about Frank Martin and his team. My first impression of Martin is most likely similar to others, we think of him as a “General” leading his team, the ultimate disciplinarian. But one thing that we may not have known about Frank Martin is his intensity around his team. I am not talking about intensity on the court, but rather intensity off of the court. It has not been the wins that Frank is most proud of, but rather the journey his team is taking together this March.
Right now, Gonzaga is favored to win this match up by 7 points. I think we know by now that we can throw all of that out of the window, as South Carolina has defied all of the odds this year. With no horse in the race on my end, I am all aboard the South Carolina bandwagon. There is plenty of room, so I hope you jump on board with me!
Here is how South Carolina beats Gonzaga:
- Turnovers – South Carolina is second in the country in points off of turnovers.
- Offense – During the regular season South Carolina averaged 72 points per game. Throughout the tournament, they have elevated their scoring to 82 points per game. Whatever Frank Martin is drawing up, he needs to keep doing it.
- Togetherness – At this point in the tournament, no team has better chemistry than South Carolina. They will not let their incredible run end here.
Prediction: South Carolina edges Gonzaga in a heavyweight, defensive battle.
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