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Editorial: State’s sports teams symbol of success

South Carolina is suddenly the symbol of college sports success.

When Duane Notice punctuated the Gamecocks’ stunning run to the Final Four with a slam that sealed the University of South Carolina’s 77-70 win over Florida at Madison Square Garden in New York, the country was convinced of what we already knew: the state has serious athletic skills.

The state’s schools have enjoyed a remarkable run. It began last June when Coastal Carolina won the first baseball national championship in school history.

Clemson’s football team kept the good fortunes rolling by knocking off Alabama in January to win its first national title since the 1981 season.

The Gamecocks’ women’s basketball team has been very good for several years, including a trip to the Final Four in 2015.

This season, led by coach Dawn Staley, the women reached the Elite Eight for the third straight year. The Gamecocks entered Monday night’s game against Florida State with 30 wins, seeking another spot in the Final Four.

And then there’s coach Frank Martin, senior Sindarius Thornwell and the Gamecocks’ men’s basketball team.

A year after getting snubbed from the tournament, they’ve captivated the country with their tenacious defense. South Carolina’s run hasn’t been a fluke.

The seventh-seeded Gamecocks beat Marquette by 20 points; steamrolled Duke in the second half for a seven-point win; and stifled Baylor in the Sweet 16 for a 20-point victory.

In the Elite Eight, the Gamecocks trailed Florida at halftime, but outscored the Gators 44-30 in the second half en route to earning a spot in the Final Four for the first time in school history.

The state’s hot streak might not end soon, either. The latest Baseball America poll has Clemson at No. 5 and South Carolina at No. 6.

Keeping the baseball crown in-state is certainly possible.

It’s a great time to be a Palmetto State fan. We are tremendously proud of all of the schools’ accomplishments.

We’ll be watching Saturday when the Gamecocks take on Gonzaga for the right to play for the men’s national championship.

How’s a possible South Carolina-North Carolina title-game matchup next Monday night sound?

Can’t wait.

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