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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 23, 2017

Gonzaga favored over South Carolina

Mar 30, 2017

(Reuters) Gonzaga, often cast as the gutty underdog, finally finished the climb to its first Final Four, doing so as a No. 1 seed. The Bulldogs’ reward: playing a gutty underdog.

South Carolina, which advanced to the Final Four as a seventh seed in the East, is hardly a Cinderella, coming from the Southeastern Conference. But the Gamecocks seemed more like bracket-filler than bracket-buster when they lost five of their last seven games before the NCAA Tournament.

The combination of high-scoring senior guard Sindarius Thornwell and some hellacious wear-you-down defense has been more than good enough in the past two weeks, however, as South Carolina knocked off the No. 2 (Duke), No. 3 (Baylor) and No. 4 (Florida) seeds in the East. The Gamecocks, like Gonzaga, will be appearing in their first Final Four when the game tips off Saturday at 6:09 p.m. ET in Glendale, Ariz.

“We’re defending at a high clip again, which is allowing us to get out in the open court and get opportunities,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said. “And our inside play has gotten good again.”

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