Final Four: Everything you need to know about the South Carolina Gamecocks
Welcome to the Final Four, South Carolina.
The No. 7 seeded Gamecocks are heading to Phoenix for their first Final Four in school history after topping Florida 77-70 Sunday afternoon to win the East regional. Before they take the court against fellow Final Four newcomer Gonzaga, here's everything you need to know about the program:
Main campus: Columbia, S.C. (pop. 129,272)
Enrollment: 25, 237
Year founded: 1801
School colors: Black and garnet
U.S. News & World Report national rank: No. 107 (tie)
Tuition and fees: $11,854 (in-state); $31,282 (out-of-state)
Notable alumni: Hootie and the Blowfish (all four band members), Lindsey Graham (senator), Mookie Wilson (baseball), Sterling Sharpe (football)
The campus: South Carolina Columbia is a public university that is the flagship campus among eight locations that make up the University of South Carolina system. Located in Columbia, the state's capital and its largest city, there is a litany of places and landmarks to visit like the Riverbanks Zoo, South Carolina State House and the "world's largest fire hydrant." On campus, the hottest spot for students on Saturdays is Williams-Brice Stadium, home to the Gamecocks football team with a capacity of 80,250 fans. Take the virtual tour of the stadium here.
Traditions: Every SEC football team needs its own unique tradition. For South Carolina, it's showcased in the final minutes before opening kickoff. Known as the "2001" entrance, the team leaves the locker room and emerges from the tunnel as the theme song from the film "2001-A Space Odyssey" blares over the stadium's PA system.
Outside Williams-Brice Stadium, another tradition can be found in the Cockaboose Railroad. In 1990, a Gamecocks fan looked to add some flare to the empty railroad tracks running beside the stadium. He and his wife cleaned up the tracks and placed 22 cabooses that remain stationary and provide a unique tailgating experience for the South Carolina faithful. Each caboose is situated with televisions, air conditioning, heating and other amenities to make for a great way to get ready for kickoff.
Basketball at South Carolina
Team nickname: Gamecocks
Conference affiliation: SEC
Home arena: Colonial Life Arena
Coach: Frank Martin (Florida International, 1993)
Coaching record: 213-125; 10 seasons (96-73; five seasons at South Carolina)
NCAA tournament appearances: 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1989, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2017
Best NCAA tournament finish (before 2016-17): Sweet 16 (1971, 1972, 1973)
Notable basketball alumni: John Roche (1969-71), Mike Dunleavy Sr. (1973-76), Alex English (1972-76), B.J. McKie (1996-99), Renaldo Balkman (2004-06)
Regular season record: 22-10 (12-6 SEC)
Notable pre-NCAA tournament wins: Monmouth (Nov. 15), Michigan (Nov. 23), Syracuse (Nov. 26), Florida (Jan. 18)
How the Gamecocks got here: Seeded No. 7 in the East. Win over No. 10 Marquette in first round, 93-73; Win over No. 2 Duke in second round, 88-81; Win over No. 3 Baylor in Sweet 16, 70-50; Win over No. 4 Florida in Elite Eight, 77-70.
Next up: No. 1 Gonzaga (Final Four)
Head-to-head vs. Gonzaga: These two teams have never met since 1949, according to Sports-Reference.com.
How the Gamecocks rank
Final AP ranking: N/A
NCAA tournament overall seed (1-68): No. 26
RPI: No. 43
SOS: No. 42
Points per 100 possessions: 108.5 (105th in the nation)
Points allowed per 100 possessions: 87.9 (second in the nation)
Possessions per 40 minutes: 68.5 (138th in the nation)
The 2016-17 Gamecocks
G P.J. Dozier (6-6, sophomore, Columbia, S.C.): 13.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.9 apg
The hometown kid has started all 36 games as the Gamecocks' top ball handler. Dozier leads the team with 99 assists this season and adds 58 steals to his ledger. His most efficient shooting performance of the year came last time out against Florida in the Elite Eight, where he went 7-of-11 from the field for 17 points.
G Duane Notice (6-2, senior, Toronto, ON): 10.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.3 apg
Notice spearheads South Carolina's pesky defense, often drawing the assignment against the opposition's top scoring options. On offense, he's the Gamecocks' top 3-point threat with a team-high 67 triples on the year. Against Duke in the round of 32 and Baylor in the Sweet 16, Notice went a combined 10-for-14 (5-for-8 on 3s) in the pair of upsets.
G Sindarius Thornwell (6-5, senior, Lancaster, S.C.): 21.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.9 apg
The SEC player of the year is the heart and soul of the Gamecocks. Thornwell is averaging 25.8 points per game in tournament play, thanks in large part to his aggressiveness in attacking the rim — he's averaging 10 free throws per game. Back in early February against Alabama, Thornwell hit 25 free throws and scored 44 points in a quadruple overtime loss.
F Maik Kotsar (6-10, freshman, Tallin, Estonia): 5.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.7 apg
The freshman big man reached double figures for the first time in 11 games during Sunday's Elite Eight matchup with the Gators when he scored 12 points. Kotsar will be tested down low in the paint against Gonzaga in the Final Four, where he'll have to match up with Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins.
F Chris Silva (6-9, sophomore, Libreville, Gabon): 10.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.3 apg
Silva has four double-doubles this season including a 17-point, 10-rebound outing against Duke in the tournament's second round. When he can stay on the court, Silva is a major factor down low. But foul trouble is often an issue. He's fouled out of 10 games this season, but none so far during tournament play.
First off the bench
G Rakym Felder (5-10, freshman, Brooklyn, N.Y.): 5.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.3 apg
Felder is the first guard off the bench, averaging 18 minutes per game this tournament. He's reached double figures in points on eight occasions this season, including a 20-point outburst against Lander on Dec. 27.
G Justin McKie (6-4, senior, Columbia, S.C.): 4.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.3 apg
McKie started seven games this season in place of Thornwell and provides further depth and versatility in the backcourt. He scored a career-high 13 points against Auburn on Jan. 24.