USC Opens Up Play At SEC Tournament On Friday
By: USC SID
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — After finishing tied for third in the final SEC standings, and clinching the third seed in the SEC Tournament, South Carolina will begin tournament play on Friday against the winner of the Georgia (No. 6 seed) vs. Mississippi State (No. 11 seed) contest set for Thursday evening. South Carolina has received a bye in the Tournament for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign when Carolina won a share of the SEC East title.
GAMECOCKS CONCLUDE HISTORIC REGULAR SEASON
South Carolina concluded an historic regular season on March 5 with a 76-61 win on the road at Arkansas. That victory set the school record for regular-season wins at 24, and gives the Gamecocks a chance to match the school record for total wins in a season (25) on Friday in Nashville. The Gamecocks began the season 15-0, their best start since the 1933-34 campaign, and the 24 wins are the most since the 1996-97 squad also posted 24 victories. In addition, South Carolina’s 11 SEC wins marked the most since 1998, match the second-most ever by a Carolina team and mark just the fourth time that the Gamecocks have had double-digit SEC wins in their 25 years in the league.
The SEC released its postseason coaches awards in advance of this week’s tournament on Tuesday and it was announced that senior forward Michael Carrera was named to the First Team, junior guard Sindarius Thornwell was named to the All-Defensive Team and junior guard Duane Notice was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year. The postseason accolade marks the first for Notice, while Thornwell and Carrera collect their second-career honor, as both were named to the All-Freshman team during their rookie campaigns. Carrera’s First Team selection marks the first Gamecock to be selected to an all-conference first or second team since the 2010 campaign.
GAMECOCK QUICK HITS
South Carolina is in its 108th season of varsity basketball in 2015-16.
– Carolina is led by fourth-year head coach Frank Martin. Alongside him are associate head coach Matt Figger, assistant coaches Perry Clark and Lamont Evans and director of men’s hoops operations, Andy Assaley.
– South Carolina is receiving votes in both the Associated Press’ Top 25 Poll and in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll this week. The Gamecocks have been receiving votes or have been ranked for the past 15 weeks in the Coaches Poll, rising to as high as 15th, and for a total of 14 weeks in the AP poll, rising to as high as 19th.
– South Carolina is 53rd in the most recent NCAA RPI (March 7), and the Gamecocks are 8-4 against teams in the top 100 of the RPI.
– The Gamecocks concluded their 25th season of competition in the Southeastern Conference in 2016 with an 11-7 record. Carolina owns a 155-253 (.379) all-time record in SEC play.
– Frank Martin owns a 76-78 (.493) all-time record in conference games. The 11 SEC wins in 2016 match the highest conference wins for a team under the direction of Martin, as his 2009-10 Kansas State squad also won 11 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
– Senior forward Michael Carrera missed the March 5 Arkansas contest due to a right hip injury. He is listed as day-to-day.
– South Carolina is 4-0 in neutral site contests this season, posting wins over DePaul, Hofstra and Tulsa to clinch the Paradise Jam championship in November, and a win vs. St. John’s in December at the Mohegan Sun. The Gamecocks are averaging 82.0 points per game and hitting 48.1 percent from the field (49.0 percent from 3-point range) in neutral site games this season.
– South Carolina owns an all-time record of 20-24 (.454) in SEC Tournament contests. The Gamecocks are a combined 4-2 in the event over the course of the past two seasons, posting wins in the first two rounds in 2014 and 2015.
– South Carolina is 2-3 in SEC Tournament games played at Bridgestone Arena, and 6-5 in all Tournament games played in Nashville (4-2 record at the Sommet Center).
– South Carolina’s 15 home wins this season marked the most since the 2008-09 squad went 16-3 at Colonial Life Arena.
– South Carolina opened the 2015-16 season with a perfect 15-0 record, which was the best start to a season since the 1933-34 campaign when Carolina began the season 17-0.
– Frank Martin led teams are 6-8 all-time in conference tournament games. The Gamecocks are 4-3 all-time in the SEC Tournament under the direction of Coach Martin.
– The Gamecocks are 4-2 this season in games decided by five points or less.