GREENVILLE, S.C. — South Carolina basketball made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 years, won a game in it for the first time in 44 years and won two games in it for the first time in school history.
And now that the Gamecocks have reached uncharted waters, they want to keep swimming into them.
“We’re not satisfied with just winning one game or this game,” senior guard Sindarius Thornwell said. “We’re in it. Why not win it? Why not us? We feel like we can compete with anybody in the country.”
The Gamecocks did the seemingly improbable Sunday night, downing a national champion favorite in its 88-81 win against No. 2-seeded Duke. The Gamecocks dominated the second half, scoring 65 points and rattling a veteran, explosive Duke basketball team.
But the celebration will be short-lived, limited to the next day or so, senior guard Justin McKie said.
“The job isn’t finished,” McKie said. “We want to try and win this thing. We want to go out and play as hard as we can. It’s a one-game season. You win, you move on. You lose, you’re out. Just take it one game at a time.”
Next up is a trip to New York City and Madison Square Garden to face Baylor, another explosive offensive team.
A win against the Bears would set up a matchup with either No. 4 Florida or No. 8 Wisconsin for a trip to the Final Four – a subject and phrase rarely spoken about around Columbia. But suddenly, in the span of 48 hours, it’s not so crazy to talk about a Final Four and even a little bit more.
“We’re not on the map until we win it,” Thornwell said. “We are just having fun. We are not worried about any of that. We are just having fun and embracing everything.”