Duke vs. South Carolina Prediction, Game Preview

LeBron James attempts a free throw Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James attempts a free throw Cleveland Cavaliers

Duke vs. SC prediction and game preview, as the No. 2 Blue Devils and No. 7 Gamecocks face off in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

No. 7 seed SC will face No. 10 seed Marquette in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. Thornwell, voted the Southeastern Conference player of the year by league coaches, leads the Gamecocks in scoring (21 points) and rebounding (7.2 boards) a game.

"We have a family", Krzyzewski said of Wojo.

It might get less fun come Sunday.

Once the Gamecocks were able to settle into their style of basketball, they were able to make a 12-2 run that forced UNC Asheville to call a timeout in the second quarter.

Following what has been a trying stretch for the sophomore guard, Dozier seemed to break out of his slump when it mattered most now that South Carolina's season is on the line every time the Gamecocks take the court.

After losing in the ACC Tournament Semifinal last Friday, UNC also starts the NCAA Tournament with an added edge and a fresh reminder for the Tar Heels to do what works, to adjust better in-game and to play to strengths. It struggled to hang onto the ball with 18 giveaways, a number that looks even worse when combined with South Carolina's 13 offensive rebounds. Marquette finished the season as the absolute best 3-point shooting team in the country, hitting an incredible 43 percent from behind the arc on the 14th-highest attempt rate in the country. But the Gamecocks used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to take control. SC will follow Thornwell's lead, slow down the game and defeat Marquette. In their last three games, the Eagles have surrendered 84, 83 and 82 points.

South Carolina's win spoiled a made-for-TV second-rounder between Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and his former Blue Devils point guard and longtime assistant, Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski. Such intensity has proven to be crippling for other teams in other sports as the destination takes on far greater importance than the journey.

Top reserves: Freshman forward Maik Kotsar started 28 games for SC before Martin made a decision to shift to a starting lineup with four guards.

Two South Carolina draftees from a year ago, Los Angeles Rams receiver Pharoh Cooper and New York Jets offensive tackle Brandon Shell, were at the workouts to cheer on their ex-teammates. And as the second half wore on, he was a key cog in USC's 20-point lead with fewer than three minutes remaining. Martin led his 2009-10 KSU squad to an Elite Eight appearance. He was a sharpshooter against SC in 2014 while with UNC Asheville, scoring 30 points on 10-for-18 shooting and 6-for-12 shooting from 3-point range.

Williams' echoed many of Krzyzewski's thoughts, while also saying he hoped to see the NCAA Tournament return to North Carolina before his coaching career was over.

Marquette hasn't played SC since 2005, but Andrew Rowsey has history with the Gamecocks. "We've waited for this moment", the younger McKie said. "It's just an unbelievable feeling".

It was the third NCAA Tournament game for Marquette graduate transfer Katin Reinhardt with his third different program.

The Tar Heels open NCAA Tournament play against Texas Southern on Friday (4pm/TNT).

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