South Carolinians bask in newfound college sports glory

South Carolinians bask in newfound college sports glory

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's time to get on the South Carolina sports bandwagon.

The University of South Carolina is the latest state college to get national attention for competing on the big stage.

It all started last summer with the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers winning the College World Series. Then, the Clemson Tigers completed an epic comeback to win the national football title in January.

Now, USC is making its name known, of all places, on the basketball court. The Gamecocks' men's and women's teams are both competing in the Final Four.

The women advanced to Sunday's national championship game after defeating Stanford 62-53 on Friday. On Saturday, the USC men take on Gonzaga in the program's first Final Four game.

A lifelong Clemson fan, Steve Ammons typically calls USC the enemy. This time, however, it's bigger than school pride.

"Like I tell people, my blood runneth orange, but my two older brothers are Carolina alumni, and I'm an unusual Clemson fan. I am rooting for Carolina in the basketball tournament," Ammons said. "It would be awesome to see South Carolina win every championship. Well it's free advertising for the state, No. 1, because that will be all over the news all over the country. It'll be South Carolina and how great a place it is and the good people."

And that attention is helping local businesses take advantage. Jason Black runs the Boathouse Bar and Grill and said a bump in business during March wasn't expected, but it's another bonus to the ever-growing fandom in South Carolina.

The pride even spills over to local coaches like Jennifer Dennison, head women's basketball coach at Myrtle Beach High School. She traveled to Dallas to watch the Gamecock's women's team compete in the Final Four.

"To me, it means a lot," Dennison said. "I enjoy the way they're teaching those ladies to play. And for the men, I think it's awesome. This is the way I see the Final Four this year; anything is possible and I just think it's the state of South Carolina's year."

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