GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Blue Devils are done. The Gamecocks are in. And the New York regional is going to be really lacking in star power next weekend.
Seventh-seeded South Carolina knocked off Duke, one of the tournament favorites, 88–81, with a furious second half where the Gamecocks shot 71% and missed just eight shots. For Duke, it likely spelled the end of Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard, Harry Giles and Grayson Allen on the team along with the graduations of Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones.
With the win, South Carolina advances to its first Sweet 16 since 1973, when the NCAA tournament only had 32 teams. The Gamecocks will join Florida, Wisconsin and Baylor—their opponent next week—in what appears to be an underwhelming regional on paper.
Meanwhile, the vaunted Atlantic Coast Conference enters the Sweet 16 with a 7–8 record in this year’s NCAA tournament. North Carolina will be the ACC’s only representative when play resumes next weekend. Here are three things from Sunday night’s upset win in South Carolina.
1. Get to know Sindarius Thornwell
The newly crowned SEC Player of the Year led all scorers with 24 points Sunday night after scoring 29 against Marquette on Friday. He said he came into the game without feeling pressure as the underdogs, and he played like it. The senior nailed two free throws down the stretch as he heard chants of MVP intermittently from the pro-Gamecock crowd.
Thornwell averaged 21.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this…