Coaches: Carolina Final Four advantage to fade after tipoff

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Author

30 March, 2017

"To play on such a big stage with my family watching", he said, "it's a special feeling". Florida and SC split their two regular-season games.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez). South Carolina forward Chris Silva (30) cuts down the net after South Carolina beat Florida 77-70 in the East Regional championship game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 26, 2017, in NY.

With the start of the Final Four just days away, individuals and teams alike are about to forever etch their names into the college basketball history books.

"And I know that if we can elevate our program to where we can compete for a SEC championship, because I know our league, we have a chance to win games in this tournament".

But that first NCAA Tournament march under Donovan, despite the disappointment of how it ended, set the wheels in motion for a spectacular 15-year run that included four Final Fours and two national titles.

"I just have to come in and prepare for them like I haven't met them before and like they are a brand-new team". The sky is the limit for the Gamecocks and coach Martin, or Frank, as his players call him.

From a pure basketball or coaching perspective, it isn't all that surprising that Martin was able to reach this plateau. "But, I realized I didn't have the pedigree or the background or the basketball history as a player".

Baylor has already signed four standout guards for next season.

Instead, Martin did what he's leaned on since arriving — teaching young people life lessons and his way of playing basketball.

Florida State forward Ivey Slaughter, foreground, goes up for the shot against SC forward A'ja Wilson during the first half of a regional final game of the women's NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, Mar. The school couldn't find statistics from his second season.

"I'll be happy to say I was a part of it at getting Florida back to Florida basketball, back to what Florida basketball is known for", Leon said.

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And, hey, the bottom line is they beat Duke, and I think they think that if they can beat Duke, they can they can beat anyone in the country.

However, after reaching one of the pinnacles of college coaching on Sunday, the improbability of Martin's personal and professional ascent was far from lost on him. "I'm scared to death right now because I just don't know".

See photos from South Carolina's victory over Florida. She had 11 points, four rebounds, and two blocks in the first half as the Seminoles had no answer for her. Karnowski was limited to five games last season and had back surgery.

"I just made plays, I was just in a situation where I just made plays", Thornwell said. The top scorer for SC has been Sindarius Thornwell.

"I said, 'I appreciate it".

Kotsar, a freshman forward, said he watched the Gamecocks lose to Georgia on his recruiting trip last March.

The interesting thing about Gonzaga is that this has been in the making for nearly 20 years, as they enter the tournament for the 20th time.

"I really liked that", Kotsar said. "The people who want to judge me on a 30-second clip on the sideline out of a 40-minute game in a 24-hour day, that's their prerogative".

Instead, Saturday night's doubleheader at University of Phoenix Stadium will be a procession of experience, battle-tested seniors and players who opted to return to school. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. "Our mental toughness and intensity from the jump will need to be the difference".

"These guys will continue to develop, doing the right things off the floor", White said.


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