- Kevin C. Cox/Getty
Another big-name school fell out of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday as second-seeded Duke lost to seventh-seeded South Carolina, 88-81.
As a result, South Carolina will advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history and will play third-seeded Baylor.
The loss obviously comes as a shock for a Duke team that had been starting to play well in recent weeks despite a somewhat lackluster player early in the season, when the team had high expectations. Duke was the third-most popular pick to win in ESPN’s bracket challenge.
Certain numbers tell a story, and for Duke, their defense was an obvious problem against South Carolina. In the second half, the Blue Devils gave up a whopping 65 points to the Gamecocks. South Carolina shot just 43% from the field and 31% from three, but more importantly made 27 of 32 free throws.
Duke, a three-point reliant team, still hit 37% of their attempts and made 27 free-throws (many of which kept them in the game in the second half), but they also turned the ball over 18 times.
South Carolina was led by a strong effort from senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, who scored 24 points on 6-of-14 shooting to go with six rebounds and five assists. Grayson Allen led the way for Duke with 20 points off the bench.
Just one day after first-ranked Villanova, the reigning NCAA Tournament champions, got knocked out, another strong contender in Duke is also done. Such is March Madness.