COLUMBIA − South Carolina women’s basketball had an unannounced guest at its press conference Saturday − Champ, coach Dawn Staley’s dog.

As the No. 1 Gamecocks prepare for their second-round NCAA Tournament matchup against No. 8 North Carolina (20-12), Staley brought Champ, who walked around the room before she picked him up and placed him on the table.

Dawn Staley's very good dog Champ adorably crashed her March Madness press  conference

Staley’s dog is a black and gray Havanese that she got after the Gamecocks won the national championship in 2017, which is where his name comes from.

Staley regularly brings Champ to press conferences after South Carolina home games.

Dawn Staley's Dog, Champ, Is a Star at Press Conferences for Gamecocks

Champ refused to take questions until he got a nameplate, Staley said, though he did interrupt one of Staley’s answers to bark at someone outside the room.

While Staley was answering a question about senior guard Te-Hina Paopao’s improvement in her first season at South Carolina (33-0), Champ sat up and turned toward the door to the press room to bark, surprising Staley mid-answer.

Staley's pup Champ steals the show at NCAA press conference

Champ laid quietly for the rest of Staley’s press conference.

South Carolina will play UNC for a spot in the Sweet 16 on Sunday (1 p.m., ABC) at Colonial Life Arena.

Evan Gerike covers South Carolina women’s basketball for the Greenville News. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanGerike.