Tar Heels' Maye headlines list of Final Four X-factors

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's Luke Maye can't go to class without getting a standing ovation nor walk across campus without getting stopped by people requesting to take a photo with him. All because of one shot -- one that lifted the Tar Heels past Kentucky to reach the Final Four while turning the sophomore from rotation reserve to sudden star. "He's big-time now," junior Justin Jackson said.

Gamecocks' Frank Martin: New perceptions of him 'comical'

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina coach Frank Martin believes he's the same straight-forward, open book he has always been, though perceptions of him have changed with the Gamecocks' run to the Final Four. "How the stories have changed that I'm a yeller and a screamer to that I'm a passionate man," Martin said Tuesday, "I find that very comical.

AP-SC--South Carolina Sports Digest, SC

The sports editor is Pete Iacobelli. Please send your best stories of the day for the South Carolina report. If you have any questions about the report, please call the AP at 800-922-1565 or 803-799-5510. Pete Iacobelli can be reached via email at piacobelli at ap.org for messages -- not stories. Reruns of stories are available from http://apexchange.com or from the service desk at 877-836-9477.

AP-SC--South Carolina Sports Digest, SC

The sports editor is Pete Iacobelli. Please send your best stories of the day for the South Carolina report. If you have any questions about the report, please call the AP at 800-922-1565 or 803-799-5510. Pete Iacobelli can be reached via email at piacobelli at ap.org for messages -- not stories. Reruns of stories are available from http://apexchange.com or from the service desk at 877-836-9477.

TIPPING OFF: Final Four welcomes trio of 1st-time coaches

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Frank Martin never got caught up in wins and losses, the highs and the lows, as he worked to build South Carolina into a contender for conference championships. Gonzaga's Mark Few dismissed questions of whether his Bulldogs would be a failure as long as they failed to get to a Final Four after so many great regular seasons.

South Carolina: The surprise of the Final Four

NEW YORK (AP) -- Gonzaga is in its first Final Four but the Zags had knocked on the door a few times. South Carolina, meanwhile, enters its first Final Four having never been close to this deep a run. The Gamecocks reached their first national semifinals the same season they reached their first Sweet 16, coming in as the seventh seed from the East.

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The supervisor is Jake Seiner, followed by Fred Lief at 9 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports Photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. AP stories and accompanying photos also can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com For reruns, call the Service Desk (800 838-4616) or your local AP bureau. All times EDT. TOP STORIES BKC--NCAA-TIPPING OFF RALEIGH, N.C.

Carolina (North) your tour guide for this year's Final Four

PHOENIX (AP) -- Consider North Carolina the tour guide at this year's Final Four. The Tar Heels will be making their record 20th trip, and most of the players on this year's roster were on hand last season to find out all about the agony of coming oh-so close to winning it all. For the rest of the guests, it's all uncharted territory.

The Latest: East vs. West set in Final Four next weekend

The Latest on the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern): 7:55 p.m. The Final Four is set. And in an unusual bit of geography, it'll be schools from neighboring states out west (Oregon, Gonzaga) against schools from neighboring states in the east (North Carolina, South Carolina). The national semifinals in Phoenix will feature No. 1 seeds in the Bulldogs and Tar Heels, a No.

Familiar foes South Carolina, Florida meet in East final

NEW YORK (AP) -- There's no need for introductions in the East Regional final. Scouting reports aren't really necessary. Fourth-seeded Florida and seventh-seeded South Carolina, two Southeastern Conference foes, will meet Sunday at Madison Square Garden with the winner advancing to the Final Four. This will be the third meeting between the teams this season with the home team winning both. They are two tough, defensive teams that can get out and run in transition.

SEC showdown at Madison Square Garden for spot in Final Four

NEW YORK (AP) -- No. 7 South Carolina (25-10) vs. No. 4 Florida (27-8) East Regional final, 2:20 p.m. EDT BOTTOM LINE: The Southeastern Conference rivals have never met in a bigger basketball game than they will Sunday at Madison Square Garden. South Carolina is looking for its first Final Four appearance. The Gamecocks have been maybe the biggest surprise of the tournament, beating No. 2 seed Duke and blowing out third-seeded Baylor.

Not what was expected in East Regional semifinals

NEW YORK (AP) -- The folks at Madison Square Garden were drooling at the thought of a Duke-Villanova regional final. Two schools that consider the Garden a home away from home in a No. 1 seed vs. No. 2 seed dream matchup that would make MSG the place to be this weekend. Instead, there are four football schools fighting for a berth in basketball's Final Four.

Sweet 16 newcomer South Carolina faces Baylor in East Region

NEW YORK (AP) -- No. 7 seed South Carolina (24-10) vs. No. 3 seed Baylor (27-7) Sweet 16, East region; New York, 7:29 p.m. EDT. BOTTOM LINE: This is all new for the Gamecocks. They are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since the field expanded to 64, having beaten Duke in the second-round at Greenville, South Carolina, along the way.

Sweet 16 guide: Top NCAA matchups, players and story lines

The NCAA Tournament's first weekend closed with a flourish, a Sunday full of scintillating games after three days of good-not-always-great basketball. That put the madness back in March and should carry over into a regional round filled with great matchups and big-name programs. Here's a rundown of the top games, players, coaches and interesting story lines for the Sweet 16: ___ TOP GAMES UCLA vs. Kentucky, South Region; Friday, Memphis. Blue bloods in Bluff City.

South Carolina's Thornwell gets time to shine in tournament

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell squirms and shakes his head slightly the Gamecocks are referred to as a one-man team. He might as well get comfortable with the description. Thornwell has become the Jadeveon Clowney for men's basketball, the face of a basketball program the way the former No. 1 NFL draft pick was for Gamecock football.

SEC Rises: Football league has 3 teams vying for Elite Eight

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Tennessee's Rick Barnes has coached in the Big East, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12. He's made the NCAA Tournament nearly two dozen times and advanced to the Final Four. He's been around. He's seen it done a number of different ways. So Barnes has credibility when he raves about his current league, the Southeastern Conference.