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Gonzaga and Xavier each have been to three Elite Eights but never further.

That has a lot to do with why the teams in this state have little NCAA tournament history, but that little history is also a reason great players haven't stayed.

The Gamecocks' defense has emerged as the second-best unit in college basketball, only behind the team they're about to play.

SC doesn't have to be known as a two-sport state, and maybe that's an unfair representation to begin with, but that perception won't change without more runs like the Gamecocks are on now. Under White's leadership, everybody on the Gators roster besides Kasey Hill (including White himself as a head coach) reached the Elite Eight for the first time in their careers. His bucket put the Bears ahead, 13-11, with 10:33 left in the opening half.

Baylor head coach Scott Drew said that it was hard for his team to find an offensive rhythm after a slow start. By pushing the tempo, North Carolina imposed its game plan effectively throughout and earned a win over a good Kentucky squad. That 3 by Notice would help propel a 22-7 run by Carolina to end the first half.

Where: Madison Square Garden, N.Y. The Gators missed the NCAA Tournament in Donovan's last season and White's first and it was easy to start wondering if the glory days of Florida basketball were gone. Hayes finished with 22 points for the Badgers, who wiped out a 12-point deficit in the final 4:15 of regulation and forced overtime on Zak Showalter's 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in regulation.

The Gamecocks extended their lead to 46-26 after a layup from Notice early in the second half. Baylor was held to just 30.4 percent shooting for the game and, in the biggest surprise of the night, got out-rebounded by the Gamecocks.

It's certainly possible that their offense tanks so badly against Gonzaga's defense that they don't have a chance to win.

More news: Tipping Off: On to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament

Sindarius Thornwell continued an awesome NCAA Tournament by scoring 26 points to lead all scorers, and was joined in double figures by PJ Dozier (17 points), Maik Kotsar (13 points), and Duane Notice (12 points). There were nine lead changes and four ties int he first half alone. Manu Lecomte knocked down back-to-back triples to trim the deficit to 13, 49-36, with 11:40 to play.

Florida was called for seven fouls in the first 5 minutes of the second half, putting SC in the bonus for 15 minutes.

Thornwell, the regional MVP, followed the deciding free throws with a nice assist to Maik Kotsar for a 4-point lead. SC held a 63-41 edge at the final media timeout with 3:58 left.

Thornwell, a SC native from Lancaster, was a solid recruit from Oak Hill Academy. Nice run, coach Frank Martin. He led Kansas State to a spot in the final eight in 2010.

SC coach Frank Martin said he finds the physical reputation for both teams amusing. Baylor lost in the national title game in 1948 and went to a Final Four two seasons later but then went 60 years before again making noise in March.

The Tar Heels have cooled off a bit behind the arc and are just shooting 47 percent (8 of 17) from 3-point range.

Baylor was held to 50 points just once all season (54 vs. Kansas State on February 4). Florida managed only three field goals over the final 3:55. Chiozza had the best moment of the East region, but South Carolina's define provided the defining moment, the one representative of how the Gamecocks got to this point in a region that was expected to be dominated by Villanova and Duke.


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