My Take: Congratulations, Gamecocks! - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

My Take: Congratulations, Gamecocks!

The South Carolina Men’s Basketball team shocked the college basketball world on Sunday night with its huge upset in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament over second-seeded Duke University. 

Nearly every “expert” commentator and perhaps non-Carolina fan, called the game for Duke ahead of the contest.

The Gamecocks had no pressure on them whatsoever. All they needed to do was go out and play their game. 

And Coach Frank Martin’s squad did just that. In convincing fashion, they destroyed Duke with an incredible 65 points scored in the second half which equated to shooting an incredible 71% from the floor. 

Consider this: the Gamecocks forced 18 Duke turnovers, the most all season for the Blue Devils.  Five Gamecocks scored in double figures, led by SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thronwell. 

What a moment for USC. What a moment for South Carolina!

This marks the first time in the history of men’s basketball at USC that they have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the current 64 team format. Thornwell said it best when he and his teammates were called to the post-game news conference to meet the media: “If you’re in it—you should be in it to win it all”.  Well, they might just do that!! 

The way Coach Martin has his team prepared, it does not look like they are intimidated by anyone!  And Coach Martin was clearly proud of not only his team, but his state and his school when he gave this emotional response to a question from a reporter who asked about Confederate Flags being flown near the arena.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s America," Martin said "And, do you think we all agree on everything? Our state is united. Our state believes in peace and harmony. That’s why this event is being held in our state right now. Our state’s progressive. Our state has incredible people that’s about moving forward. But, It’s America. People have freedoms to do whatever they want to with themselves and their property. It is what it is. There’s things out there that I don’t like, but I can’t force people to do what I want them to do.”

Regardless of your personal beliefs, you have to admire Coach Martin, himself a child of immigrant parents from Cuba, for speaking proudly about Americans right to choose and what freedom means to all of us who live in the great Palmetto State. 

No matter what happens in New York City this weekend, this team and its impressive leader have made this state proud.

Good luck, Gamecocks!

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