What UVA Basketball fans need to know about South Carolina

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South Carolina missed the NCAA Tournament in 2019. You know South Carolina coach Frank Martin has his team thinking tournament implications today heading into JPJ.

The Gamecocks (7-4) are coming off a 67-54 road win at Clemson from a week ago.

The rotation goes eight deep. A.J. Lawson, a 6’6” sophomore, is the leading scorer, averaging 16.3 points per game, shooting 44.6 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from three-point range.

Lawson has also shown an ability to get to the free-throw line, with six or more attempts in four games, including a 12-for-13 outing as he rolled up 28 points in a win over Cleveland State on Nov. 15.

The other guy averaging double-digits in scoring is 6’11” senior Maik Kotsar, who is putting in 10.1 points and a team-best 6.2 rebounds per game this season.

Lawson and Kotsar are two of the three USC players averaging 27+ minutes per game. The third: 6’6” sophomore Justin Minaya (6.8 ppg, 5.4 rebs/g).

The best three-point shooter is 6’3” junior Jair Bolden (9.1 ppg, 45.9% FG, 38.9% 3FG).

South Carolina isn’t the classic matchup nightmare for Virginia’s Pack Line defense, which can be susceptible to teams that can touch the paint and kick out for threes.

USC is shooting 28.8 percent from three as a team this season.

Martin does like to try to push temp: South Carolina averages 72.8 possessions per game, 48th nationally, per KenPom.com.

The rotation is big: the average height on the floor, 78.3 inches, is 19th nationally.

This should mean Virginia coach Tony Bennett can go with his preferred bigger lineups. Don’t be surprised to see 6’9” Mamadi Diakite, 7’1” Jay Huff and 6’8” Braxton Key on the floor together for significant minutes today, assuming Key, who played seven minutes in Wednesday’s 66-54 win over Stony Brook in his first game back following wrist surgery, is a full go.

Story by Chris Graham


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