There have been some real shockers in the 2017 NCAA Tournament — Wisconsin over Villanova, primarily — but South Carolina's 88-81 win over Duke on Sunday stole the show for the time being.
Mike Krzyzewski's group of highly-touted recruits stepped into Greenville, S.C., as the heavy favorites, but walked out of the mostly hostile environment set fora trip home.
Here are three reasons why Duke lost to South Carolina:
1. Sloppy play — When playing against an underdog known for its hounding defense, the most important thing is taking care of the ball. Duke, a young team, did not accomplish this task.
The Blue Devils turned the ball over 18 times while struggling to figure out the Gamecocks' suffocating trap. Duke doesn't have a true point guard on the roster, and it really showed against South Carolina's pressure.
2. Failure to box out on defense — The Blue Devils allowed 15 offensive rebounds, five of which came fromChris Silva, who finished the game with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Gamecocks were much more physical on the boards and in open court. This game looked like men amongst boys at times, with Duke on the losing end of that analogy.
Though Duke did haul in 34 rebounds for the game, it failed to limit South Carolina to one shot on a consistent basis. Though theGamecocks are not a great shooting team, it's never good allowing underdogs more than one opportunity to score.
3. Luke Kennard picked the wrong time to have an off game — Kennard, who ultimately fouled out late in the game, scored just 11 points while shooting 1 of 6from the floor. After being considered as an ACC Player of the Year candidate, this was a disappointing performance.
Kennard uses his silky shooting stroke to knock down shots from beyond the arc and off the dribble. He is one of the best in the nation at hitting mid-range jumpers. South Carolina did a great job limiting Kennard's shot attempts, and Duke suffered.
North Carolina is now the only ACC team that remains in the Big Dance.