SC (24-10) came into the NCAA Tournament having lost two games in a row and five of their last seven.

Coach Dawn Staley's women's team, making its fourth straight trip to the Sweet 16, travels 2,637.9 miles to northern California to play a team from CT - the Quinnipiac Bobcats - on Saturday.

"You're not going to stop a guy like that", Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

Cal and Baylor played Monday night for trip to Oklahoma City and a spot in the Sweet 16. "I'm talking about other (top) schools".

But as the real Jesus might say, Carlton Thompson will be at the Sweet 16 - both of them - in spirit.

"It could have been easy for us to kind of falter", Notice said.

"I'll see you at Madison Square Garden, Gamecocks", Martin said.

Drew's brother, Bryce, just finished his first coaching season at Vanderbilt, another SEC school. All 12 Baylor players who got in the game scored and had at least one rebound, and all but one had an assist.

"We're a good defensive team", Martin said, "And when we play defense, we play better on offense". "We're in it - why not win it?"

The 3rd seeded Baylor Bears (27-7) meet the 7th seeded South Carolina Gamecocks (24-10) in the East Region of the 2017 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 on Friday, March 24, 2017.

Certainly, Baylor is aware Thornwell has accounted for 31.6 percent of the Gamecocks' scoring over the course of the last five games, and they hope their usually effective zone defense anchored by twin towers Johnathan Motley (6-10) and Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.

Coach Frank Martin's men's team, this year's Cinderella as conqueror of Duke, plays Friday night against Baylor in the Mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden. Heading into the Sweet 16, Thornwell's an early-second rounder and possibly a late-first rounder depending on the team's situation, but the way he's played in the first two postseason games has been tremendous.

California coach Lindsay Gottlieb really didn't have to watch to know just how good top-seeded Baylor is. Duke committed 18 turnovers, tying its season high. But the way SC stormed past Duke, albeit in its home state, was impressive.

And all of that is certainly a portion of the 51-year-old Martin's personality. It works. His players do what he tells them to. As much as I agree with that assessment, Dillon Brooks may not.

Sindarius Thornwell might be the biggest star in college basketball who no one talks about.

Despite a loss to West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament championship game (also at Chesapeake Energy Arena), Baylor has won nine of 10, including two games in this NCAA Tournament by an average of 64.5 points. When asked what a hard match up Thornwell would be, Baylor senior and longtime friend Ishmail Wainright said, "The whole team will be defending him. All I know is this unbelievable university and state has taken in a son of Cuban immigrants that's married to a Jamaican woman, has mixed kids, and they've treated me like I'm one of their own from day one".

Added Wainright, "They do a great job feeding him the ball in his spots that he likes the ball".

"I'm proud of my co-workers in the SEC", Martin said.

Thanks to his father, we're watching Ball more closely than we would've been.


COMMENTS