University of South Carolina Merch Sales Surge 320% During Unexpected Final Four Run
Many NCAA Tournament devotees had supreme confidence that a club from the Southeastern Conference would advance to the Final Four, but few likely believed the represented athletes would not be the white-and-blue-clad Wildcats from the University of Kentucky. Thanks to the league standard-bearer’s loss in the South Region Final, all the regard has deservedly shifted to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, whose improbable run to the East Region championship, including a second-round victory over Duke University, has elevated the garnet-and-black-attired ballers to merchandise heaven.
Following its 88-81 upset over the favored Blue Devils March 19, the Frank Martin-coached team saw demand for affiliated products jump 320 percent, the leading figure among schools that had qualified for the Sweet Sixteen. With two more triumphs since the shocker, the Palmetto State sharpshooters, led by senior star and conference player of the year Sindarius Thornwell, have entered unchartered territory, as Saturday’s Phoenix-situated tilt versus Gonzaga University will be the program’s first Final Four contest.
Because of the excitement surrounding the historic March march, the 26-10 Gamecocks have made their Columbia-based backers immensely proud but have also generated enhanced receipts in Atlanta; Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; and New York City, whose Madison Square Garden hosted their Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight defeats of Baylor and Florida, respectively. The latter duel guaranteed that one SEC member would be a participant in the Final Four, with Kentucky’s 75-73 loss to the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in Memphis leaving the Gamecocks to uphold conference pride in Arizona. Martin, in his fifth season helming a program that had not won an NCAA Tournament matchup since 1973, posted the following on Twitter Monday.
When times get difficult it's easy 2let go. we owe it 2 every1 who believes n us 2 hold on tighter. #DontLetGoOffTheRope. Our guys never do
— Frank Martin (@coachFMartin) March 27, 2017
With history upon him and his charges, whose contemporaries on the women’s team will look to secure a Final Four slot tonight, it is safe to say that this journey has taught them to keep that rope taut. Two wins away from a national championship, they definitely will make the most of the moment, and their fans will continue to make their acquaintance with all things Gamecock.