(STL.News) The Latest on the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):
Well, things didn’t get off to a smooth start for South Carolina-Florida.
Officials twice had to stop the game in the opening minute due to a bit of clock trouble. A TV replay on the second one showed the shot clock resetting to 15 seconds instead of the full 30.
The issue appeared to be resolved fairly quickly — knock on wood.
The all-Southeastern Conference Elite Eight game saw the football schools playing a physical game a little more than four minutes in, with the Gators leading 7-6 in a game featuring plenty of bumping and tight defense.
And the officials are letting them play. Only one foul has been called so far.
Just how unexpected is this Florida-South Carolina matchup for the Final Four? Just know that it probably won’t have any bearing on your office pool for bracket picks.
Well under 1 percent of those who filled out brackets on ESPN or Yahoo picked the No. 7 seed Gamecocks to reach the Final Four.
Gators support wasn’t much higher — just 3.5 percent of bracketeers on ESPN and 1.9 percent on Yahoo picked the No. 4 seed. Lower seeds Notre Dame, Michigan and Iowa State all had more support to win the regional final.
Florida football coach Jim McElwain made the trip up from Gainesville with his wife, Karen, to root on the Gators against South Carolina on Sunday.
McElwain says it is his first time attending an event at Madison Square Garden.
It will be a quick trip. He says he has a 7 a.m. staff meeting on Monday morning.
Steve Spurrier, the winningest football coach in both Florida and South Carolina history, was not at the game. A Florida spokesman says the coach is out of the country. Knowing Spurrier, he is likely somewhere warm with plenty of golf courses.
— Ralph D. Russo reporting from New York.
The NCAA Tournament will have its Final Four teams on Sunday with two more games to determine the last spots.
And both games are rematches of contests played earlier this season. Southeastern Conference teams South Carolina and Florida face off first for the right to represent the East, then North Carolina plays Kentucky in the South bracket.
The winners will join Gonzaga and Oregon at the Final Four in Glendale, Arizona, where the tournament semifinals will be played on Saturday.
South Carolina and Florida are at this stage of the tournament in large part because of a game they played against one another on Jan. 18. It announced the Gamecocks as a force but also prompted a team meeting for the Gators that triggered a nine-game winning streak, which included a rematch win against South Carolina.
Malik Monk scored 47 points for Kentucky in a 103-100 win over North Carolina in December.
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