Final Four-bound! Can you believe it?
Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.
Pinch me. Seriously.
The Gamecocks are going to the Final Four.
— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) March 26, 2017
Improbable as it may seem, the South Carolina Gamecocks are actually going to Phoenix to play in the national semifinals to earn a spot in the national championship.
Honestly, it’s absolutely surreal just to type it.
The program’s first-ever Final Four berth comes on the heels of a 77-70 victory against rival Florida in historic Madison Square Garden.
Anxious. Scared. Excited. Shocked.
— Matt Walsh (@MWalshMedia) March 27, 2017
The last five or so minutes of the game were a roller coaster of emotion. But, despite some missed free throws down the stretch, the Gamecocks held on.
Maybe by the end of Chicken & Waffles it will sink, but right now it still doesn’t feel real. What does feel real, however, is all the money I’ve spent on Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and Final Four merch…
It’s a celebration!
It was a feeling of euphoria shared from Gamecocks all over the country on Sunday night, but some of my favorite reaction shots and celebrations took place right in the World’s Most Famous Arena.
One of USC’s most visible alums, Darius Rucker, was courtside for the big win. “Let him cryyyyyy…”
Darius Rucker is crying pic.twitter.com/s5DYg0i6YA
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 26, 2017
Thomas Cooper Library has become the epicenter of the on-campus celebration through the Big Dance. Believe it or not, we never had one such fountain celebration while I was in school!
Moving away from campus, Five Points looked to be in top form — though, would it be that hard to believe if this photo was taken on a random Thursday?
— Matt Walsh (@MWalshMedia) March 26, 2017
Even beyond the USC bubble, the national media showed the Gamecocks some serious love and respect after their huge win.
“Their unexpected run to the Final Four makes them an easy fan favorite, and with their style of play and fiery coach, there are going to be a lot of casual college basketball fans jumping on board this bandwagon,” wrote CBS Sports’ Chip Patterson of the Gamecocks’ run.
Becoming the tournament’s de facto Cinderella, Carolina has impressed writers and hoops pundits everywhere with its no-glitz, all-grit defense and second-half adjustments.
Count Seth Davis among those wowed by USC’s run. (Bonus point for the “curb your enthusiasm” reference.)
South Carolina has outscored opponents by 54 points in the second half in the tourney. Pre-tay pre-tay good….
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 26, 2017
Best weekend ever
Who will claim the ULTIMATE prize? pic.twitter.com/GgF0PX0Jwg
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 26, 2017
So, the lineup for this coming weekend is as follows:
- Women’s Final Four (Friday)
- South Carolina Spring Game (Saturday)
- Men’s Final Four (Saturday night)
- Women’s National Championship (Sunday night)
- Wrestlemania (Sunday night)
- Men’s National Championship (Monday night)
Are you KIDDING me?
Lady Gamecocks go for the Final Four
On Monday night, the Lady Gamecocks will be taking on Florida State for the right to head to Dallas for the Final Four.
For Carolina, the win would mean its second Final Four in the last three seasons — only its second ever.
The men’s team sent some words of encouragement to its female counterparts live from the locker room at The Garden:
— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) March 26, 2017
Best of Twitter
The Gamecocks’ win brought out the best from Twitter on Sunday night. Here are just a few of my favorites:
South Carolina has made the Final 4 pic.twitter.com/4B6KdMxDpL
— SEC Country (@SECcountry) March 26, 2017
South Carolina pushes past Florida and into the Final Four! pic.twitter.com/jZ7efSqF2i
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 26, 2017
This account has been en fuego throughout the entire tournament …
— U of South Carolina (@UofSC) March 26, 2017
In case you missed it
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 26, 2017
- Frank Martin, Sindarius Thornwell cemented as South Carolina basketball legends with Final Four trip.
- South Carolina’s Final Four run gives hope to all of SEC’s underperformers.
- South Carolina Final Four berth nets Frank Martin $100,000 bonus.
- South Carolina, Florida dominate All-East Region team.
- How South Carolina basketball became the talk of the NCAA Tournament, from SB Nation.
- Once a basketball novice from Gabon, Chris Silva now is a key piece for South Carolina, writes Sports Illustrated.
The Gamecocks and the Zags tip off at 6:09 pm ET on Saturday …
Both South Carolina and Gonzaga will be playing in their first Final Fours in program history, whereas Oregon has not been back since it won the inaugural NCAA championship in 1939. This will be North Carolina’s 20th Final Four in program history, the most of any college program.
South Carolina’s opened as 6.5-point underdogs.