"They bet every game, even if they don't like somebody". The picks would not have been good. "They kept believing in me, they kept me in the game, they trusted me with the ball in my hands, and I just had to go out there and make plays". "You never think that this time would come, especially so abrupt".
Just how bad was Duke's loss on Sunday to No. 7 seed SC in the Blue Devils' storied history?
On went SC, a team that had not won an NCAA tournament game in the last 44 seasons, readying for the Sweet 16 at the Garden Friday night.
Texas 84, NC State 80: Brooke McCarty scored 23 points and No. 3-seed Texas got a put-back basket from Joyner Holmes with 4 seconds left to the send the Longhorns to the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row.
The Jayhawks may have the easiest road of any team left in the field, and they are listed as five-point favorites against the fourth-seeded Purdue Boilermakers (27-7) on Thursday. They've lost to #14 seed Mercer as a #3 seed. Kennard said his team has been in hard environments before "and we've won games like that". The defense tallied six blocks in the first 20 minutes-five came from graduate student Amile Jefferson-and ran SC off the 3-point line as the Gamecocks shot just 3-of-17 from long distance.
SC kept the pressure on.
"I don't know", he said, when asked why. Gonzaga had to play a game on Saturday in front of what seemed like a hostile crowd, because of all the Northwestern fans that attended, but that game was at least played in Salt Lake City and not say Chicago. Except for one Duke player. Coach K could have coached better. Neither offense was pretty until they came out of the locker room, and the Gamecocks absolutely torched the Blue Devils in the second half. Offensively, South Carolina has been led by Sindarius Thornwell (21.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.9 apg), PJ Dozier (13.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.7 spg), Duane Notice (10.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.1 spg), and Chris Silva (10.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg).
"It was a really tough game", ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said.
The Gamecocks were somewhat of an afterthought after losing five of their last seven leading up to the event, but they used a dominant second half to rout Marquette 93-73 on Friday for their first NCAA Tournament win since 1973. MI took advantage and eventually won 73-69. Only Xavier, which beat Maryland and Florida State, is through to the Sweet 16.
There was no way the No.1 seed was going to go down without a fight.
Johnathan Motley had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Manu Lecomte scored all 12 of his points in the final 5 minutes, and Baylor defeated USC 82-78 on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Florida took care of business in what was expected to be a great matchup between two talented teams, dominating Virginia 65-39. Perhaps they should have. Wichita State wanted revenge, but Kentucky was able to hang on. "We have the utmost faith in our team and our coaching staff that we can go out and beat anybody".
Villanova, the defending national champion and the top overall seed, lost 65-62 to No. 8 seed Wisconsin.
History will remember the 2016-2017 ACC season as the one that ended with a thud, because the way we judge a conference's performance is by looking at what it does beginning in mid-March. They didn't lose on buzzer beaters and last-second mishaps. The first two days had a lot of good basketball, but nothing all that memorable. Sunday was a different story.