Gonzaga head coach talks defending Sindarius Thornwell

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Gonzaga head coach Mark Few spent Monday afternoon singing the praises of Sindarius Thornwell, the reigning SEC Player of the Year.

RELATED: Gonzaga coach Mark Few on Sindarius Thornwell

“The intensity that he brings to the game,” Few said of Sindarius Thornwell. “He can hurt you on the glass. He can hurt you shooting it. He can hurt you off the bounce. He can get to the free throw line a lot. He’s going to be a hard guard.”

The Zags sit atop kenpom.com’s adjusted defensive efficient rankings, allowing just 86 points per 100 possessions. With the Gamecocks just trailing, allowing 87.9 points.

Few’s team will have to use every bit of its defensive prowess to contain Thornwell, who’s been on quite a tear as of late, averaging 25.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 steals per game in the tourney.

It’s no secret that as Thornwell goes, so go the Gamecocks.

A win on Saturday will require continued defensive excellence and a game from USC’s superstar senior on par with the rest of his tournament averages.

The Gamecocks’ best chance

ESPN’s Myron Medcalf broke down why each Final Four team will or won’t win it all in Phoenix.

The Gamecocks make their case with an elite defense. “They can lock down any team in Glendale,” Medcalf said.

The biggest knock against USC? Their lack of an explosive offense …

“On the season, they’re connecting on just 33.3 percent of their 3-pointers and 46.1 percent of their shots inside the arc,” wrote Medcalf. “If South Carolina regresses to the mean of its season on offense, it will not win a national championship in this field of elite scoring units.”

Lady Gamecocks cut down the net

Women’s basketball is headed to the Final Four for the second time in three years.

RELATED: South Carolina women’s basketball rolls into Final Four after beating Florida State

With a 71-64 win against Florida State on Monday night, the Lady Gamecocks punched their ticket to the national semifinals. USC is set to take on Stanford in Dallas on Friday night.

‘Never tell me the odds …’

The Network’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) gave the Gamecocks about the same chance as many, many others of making the Final Four.

RELATED: ESPN’s BPI metric gave South Carolina a 0.3 percent chance to make the Final Four 

Way back on March 15, FiveThirtyEight put USC at a 1 percent chance of making it to Phoenix. Today, the Gamecocks have a 14 percent shot to win it all.

Moving on up

To accommodate the Gamecocks’ Final Four game against Gonzaga at 6:09 pm on Saturday, the football team decided to move the spring game from 2 p.m. to noon.

Between the spring game, Final Four AND evening Wrestlemania festivities, Saturday is shaping up to be a day to remember for yours truly.

Exclusive footage of me waking up Saturday morning …

Gamecock Jesus heading to the Valley of the Sun

If you’ve ever attended or even just watched a USC basketball game, you’re probably familiar with Carlton Thompson.

Thompson, or “Gamecocks Jesus,” is known for his long, long beard and signature towel-waving enthusiasm for Carolina hoops. For his unrelenting fandom, fellow Carolina fans decided to give back to Gamecock Jesus …

“A GoFundMe campaign was started to send Carlton Thompson, the man affectionately known as “Gamecock Jesus,” to Arizona to watch South Carolina take on Gonzaga in the Final Four on Saturday,” reported Andrew Astleford. “Fans came out in full force. As of late Monday afternoon, $5,250 of the $3,500 goal was raised, and the campaign was shared more than 7,500 times on Facebook.”

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