Somebody forgot to tell South Carolina that they aren’t the “usual Carolina” to get this far in the NCAA tournament. Honestly, until this run, I too had forgotten that South Carolina even had a college basketball team. I can’t forget anymore as they’ve come literally out of nowhere and taken out two high seeds en route to the Elite 8. They knocked off Duke and Baylor (the latter in blowout fashion), and now get to face a Florida team that barely won its Sweet 16 matchup.
I like their chances. There’s something to be said about momentum, and while the “usual Carolina” is where they’re supposed to be this time of year, the “other Carolina” seems more comfortable. That’s going to be one good game against Florida with a chance at the Final Four on the line.
But first, here are my Elite 8 picks:
(4)Florida vs. (7)S. CAROLINA — (7)S. CAROLINA. I just can’t pick against the Gamecocks at this point in the most wide open region. That win against Baylor was more impressive than the one against Duke. They will be Phoenix bound.
(1)KANSAS vs. (3)Oregon — (1)KANSAS. Their average margin of victory is greater than anyone else’s in this tournament, and if Graham stays on then this won’t even be a contest against the Ducks. Jayhawks take it by 10.
(1)GONZAGA vs. (11)Xavier — (1)GONZAGA. Does the glass slipper fit, X-men? I don’t know, but they’ve looked pretty impressive in dispatching of Maryland, Florida State (by 25!), and that comeback win against Arizona. They belong. But the Zags are #1 for a reason.
(1)N. Carolina vs. (2)KENTUCKY — (2)KENTUCKY. F-O-X. Learn how to spell it because it’s going to be on the screen a lot in this one. Kentucky might not be a better team than the Tarheels, but they will have the best player on the floor. That will matter. At least one Carolina team will make the Final Four.