I tweeted after South Carolina’s 77-70 win over Florida in their Elite 8 game, that no one could have done this except Frank Martin. And I believe that. Who’s taking a bottom feeding SEC basketball program from a football school and running them through Marquette, Duke, Baylor, and Florida, to get to a first-ever Final Four in school history? A seven seed from a much maligned conference.
A team that was picked to finish 8th in the SEC in the preseason. A program that had gone 44 years since their last win in the NCAA tourney. Who leads THAT team to four straight tournament wins?! Frank Freakin’ Martin, and only Frank Martin.
And because he’s Frank Martin — he’s making it clear that it’s not about him: not about the guy on the bench but, but about his guys on the floor… about the a couple of stars that could have gone anywhere, but decided to stay home and build something great with Frank Martin. And about their supporting cast, and the fact that all of them completely buy into Martin, the culture he established there, and would do absolutely anything for the man.
There’s probably not a more fearless crew heading to Phoenix. These guys slayed the Duke Dragon and have won all four their tournament games by an average of 14 points. Don’t let that 7 seed fool you. These dudes, are tough, their physical, their hungry and they impose their will on you. And they get it from the head man. I don’t root. Ever. For anything other than something to talk about. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love Frank Martin. Because I do. I think the guy is a helluva coach and an even better leader.