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Can South Carolina Keep Dancing?

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GLENDALE, AZ – The South Carolina Gamecocks have had an impressive NCAA Tournament run. South Carolina has knocked off the #10 Marquette Golden Eagles, #2 Duke Blue Devils, #3 Baylor Bears and #4 Florida Gators. The Gamecocks defeated both Marquette and Baylor by 20 points, and have looked like the best defensive team in the country. Opponents have turned the ball over at least 16 times (except for Florida) against South Carolina in this tournament. The Gamecocks have used this to create offense, and build momentum late in games.

The leadership of Sindarius Thornwell has had such a impact on this South Carolina team. When Thornwell is on the floor, rarely do the Gamecocks seem to be out of control. The poise and confidence that Thornwell exudes, has extended to the rest of his teammates. Underclassman like Chris Silva and Rakym Felder have made key plays down the stretch throughout the tournament, due to the confidence Thornwell shows he has in them.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Dozier hitting a tough shot against Florida in the Elite Eight.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Dozier hitting a tough shot against Florida in the Elite Eight.

The reason why this team is playing so great offensively, is because P.J. Dozier has elevated his game and made this Gamecock team a Final Four contender. Dozier continues to make tough basket after tough basket, and has proven to be a prolific scorer alongside Thornwell. Thornwell is even starting to get rare open looks, because teams are recognizing the damage Dozier can do. Dozier has much upside, and will see his offensive skill set start to expand as he gets stronger.

The #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs are the next challenge in the way of red hot South Carolina. Saturday afternoon, the Gamecocks are going to need big offensive games from Dozier and Thornwell. South Carolina can not afford to play catch-up against the Bulldogs. Gonzaga is an experienced team that can turn it on quick, so the Gamecocks will need to get Gonzaga uncomfortable early.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) South Carolina played great interior defense against Florida.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) South Carolina played great interior defense against Florida.

Duane Notice and Maik Kotsar are going to have to be able to neutralize Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss and Przemek Karnowski. Gonzaga is an inside-out team, so Notice and Kotsar need to take away interior production for South Carolina to be successful.

Prediction:

  • Thornwell and Dozier will show why they are the best scoring tandem in the tournament, and will combine for 50 points in a winning effort over Gonzaga. The Bulldogs will play tough, but the game will slip away in the second half due to fatigue from South Carolina’s defensive pressure.
    • South Carolina 73 – Gonzaga 61

Barry Holmes is a Senior Writer for PureSportsNY.com. Follow him on Twitter @BHO732

(Featured Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY)

 

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