Jan. 23, 2018
South Carolina at Florida
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina will face its third-straight ranked opponent on Wednesday when it travels to Gainesville to face No. 20/22 Florida. The meeting is the first between the two schools since the two SEC squads met in last season's NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in New York City.
> Like last week, the Gamecocks will face two ranked opponents this coming week, traveling to face No. 20/22 Florida in Gainesville in SEC action, before returning to Columbia to host No. 14/14 Texas Tech in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday.
> South Carolina battled back from a seven-point deficit midway through the second half vs. No. 21/21 Tennessee last Saturday to tie the game at 59 with 5:31 to play, but the Gamecocks were never able to grab the lead, and UT closed the game on an 11-4 run to clinch the road victory.
> Rookie forward Justin Minaya had his best game of the SEC campaign in the matchup vs. Tennessee, scoring 16 points and hitting a season best four 3-point baskets. Minaya’s performance was his first double-figure scoring game of league action, and his seventh of the season. He also pulled down five rebounds and was a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line vs. the Vols.
> Wednesday’s matchup between the Gamecocks and Gators is the first of two between the former SEC East foes this league campaign, and it is a rematch of last season’s NCAA East Regional Elite Eight matchup, which the Gamecocks won 77-70, punching the program’s first ticket to the Final Four.
> The Gamecocks are 3-3 in road games this season and 1-2 in conference road contests. That road win in league action came on Jan. 13 - Carolina’s last road game - at Georgia, as the Gamecocks posted a 64-57 win over the Bulldogs in Athens behind a 17-point performance from grad student guard Frank Booker.
SUITS AND SNEAKERS WEEK
> It’s Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers Week! Suits and Sneakers Week is a nationwide event that unites coaches across the country to raise funds and awareness about the fight against cancer, and promotes the American Cancer Society as a source of inspiration and hope for those facing cancer. While coaching games this week, Frank Martin and his staff will wear sneakers with their game attire as a visible reminder about the importance of fighting cancer.
> South Carolina is in its 110th season of varsity basketball in 2017-18.
> South Carolina advanced to its first Final Four in 2016-17, which included posting its first NCAA Tournament win since the 1973 campaign when it tallied a 93-73 win over Marquette in the First Round.
> The Gamecocks finished the 2016-17 campaign with a 26-11 overall record. The 26 wins were a program record.
> Among active Division I head coaches, South Carolina’s Frank Martin holds the sixth-highest NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.667) behind only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Kansas’ Bill Self.
> Over the course of the last three seasons (2015-16-present), the Gamecocks are 25-19 (.568) combined in games played away from home (away/neutral).
> South Carolina compiled 51 wins over the course of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
> Entering the 2017-18 campaign, Frank Martin has led his team to at least 20 wins in seven of 10 seasons.
> South Carolina played six of its first seven games away from home to begin the 2017-18 campaign, posting a 5-2 record during the stretch.
> Martin is joined on the bench by assistant coaches Perry Clark (fifth season), Chuck Martin (first season) and Bruce Shingler (second season), and director of basketball operations Andy Assaley in his sixth season.
> Clark brings 19 years of head coaching experience to the bench, as he served the combined years as head coach at Tulane, Miami (Fla.) and Texas A&M Corpus Christi, while Chuck Martin served as head coach at Marist for five campaigns.
> Martin is 91-88 (.506) all-time in league play. In his 10 seasons leading a squad through a full slate of league games, his team has posted double-digit conference wins six times.
> South Carolina has improved its conference record in each of Frank Martin’s five seasons leading the squad through the SEC slate. In his first SEC campaign (2013), Martin led his squad to four wins, followed by five win sin 2014, six in 2015, 11 in 2016 and 12 last season.
> South Carolina is in its 26th basketball season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are 170-263 (.392) all-time in SEC games.
> South Carolina has 18 games missed to injury this season: Hassani Gravett (3/right ankle sprain); Kory Holden (8/hamstring injury); David Beatty (1/elbow injury); Tommy Corchiani (6 games/left knee injury).
SCOUTING THE GAMECOCKS
> South Carolina is 12-7 on the year and 3-4 in SEC play after last Saturday’s 70-63 loss to No. 21 Tennessee in Columbia.
> The Gamecocks have two players averaging double-figure points in overall games this season in Chris Silva (14.5) and Frank Booker (11.3). Silva (17.4), Booker (11.6) and Wesley Myers (10.9) are all averaging double-figures in league action as well.
> In league action, Carolina is holding opponents to just 69.1 points per game, however, the Gamecocks are averaging just 67.6 points per game.
> Nationally, Carolina ranks 35th (second in the SEC) with 12.68 offensive rebounds per game. Chris Silva paces Carolina in the category with 2.95 offensive boards per outing, which is 53rd nationally and third in the SEC.
> Sophomore forward Maik Kotsar dished five assists vs. Tennessee on Saturday. It marked the most in the category for him in any SEC game during his career.
> Chris Silva is averaging a career best with 27.3 minutes per game in league games this season. He played 35 minutes in both the Georgia and Kentucky games.
SCOUTING THE GATORS
> Florida is 14-5 on the season and 6-1 in SEC games, and the Gators have jumped back in the national rankings this week at No. 20 in the AP poll and No. 22 in the coaches poll.
> The Gators currently lead the SEC with their 6-1 record.
> UF is led by head coach Mike White in his third season.
> Florida most recently posted a 66-64 win at Rupp Arena last Saturday.
> Four average double-figure points for the Gators, led by Jalen Hudson’s 16.5 per game. Egor Koulechov (14.4), Chris Chiozza (12.3) and KeVaughn Allen (11.3) all average double figures as well.
> UF is 8-2 in home games this season, with wins over Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Arkansas in league action at home.
> The Gators rank among national leaders in several statistical categories, but one that stands out is Florida is fourth nationally in fewest turnovers with just 188 on the year. UF is eighth in the nation in turnover margin (4.8) and Chris Chiozza is 14th nationally with an assist to turnover ratio of 3.29, which leads the SEC.
> The Gators are also exceptional at the foul line, as three rank among the nation’s top 25 in free throw percent. Koulechov is third at 94.3 percent, Allen is 12th at 91.2 percent, and Chiozza is 24th at 89.5 percent.
ELITE EIGHT REMATCH
> Wednesday’s contest is the first meeting between South Carolina and Florida since the two SEC foes matched up in the Elite Eight last March at Madison Square Garden. South Carolina would go on to post a 77-70 win over the Gators to advance to the first Final Four in school history. The game was a back-and-forth battle. The Gamecocks took an early lead, but Florida stormed back to hold a 40-33 upperhand at halftime. South Carolina responded after the break with a 13-6 run, and the Gamecocks re-took the lead, 49-48, with 11:28 to play. Another late run by the Gamecocks, and two huge steals from Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier would secure the Carolina win. A key stat from the matchup, the Gamecock defense held UF to 0-of-14 from 3-point range in the second half.
> Florida holds a 44-25 upperhand in the all-time series with South Carolina.
> The Gators also lead the series in Gainesville, 21-7.
> The Gamecocks have won three of the last four meetings, including two of last season’s three matchups.
> South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday to host No. 14/14 Texas Tech in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Tip time is set for Noon ET on ESPN2 vs. the Red Raiders. The meeting will be the fourth all-time between the two schools and the first since the 1976-77 season. Beth Mowins (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (analyst) will have the call for ESPN2.