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East Regional Final Prediction

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NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – Friday night, the #7 South Carolina Gamecocks upset the #3 Baylor Bears 70-50 in Madison Square Garden. This game was ugly and low scoring to start, as both teams struggled to get their offense going. At the 8:52 mark, South Carolina used a P.J. Dozier jumper to spark a 16-0 run on Baylor to close out the first half. During that run by the Gamecocks, Baylor was held scoreless for over 6 minutes. South Carolina never looked back in the second half, as Baylor never could adjust to the pressure of South Carolina.

SCD

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) The Gamecocks played suffocating defense on Baylor Friday night.

In the second match-up of the night, those that stayed for the 10:30 tip off were in for a real treat. This game between the #4 Florida Gators and #8 Wisconsin Badgers has been said by many to have been the game of the tournament. All game long, both teams played with high intensity and a sense of urgency. The score went back and forth, until Florida started to pull away late.

The Badgers led by Nigel Hayes (22 points) overcame an eight point deficit with 2:10 remaining in the second half. Zak Showalter hit a floating three in the closing seconds, to tie the game and send it into OT. However, in OT it would be the Gators’ Chris Chiozza to hit a floating three of his own as time expired. This shot gave Florida a 84-83 win, and set up an East Regional Final showdown with South Carolina.

Prediction:

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Allen throwing down a dunk in a win over Wisconsin.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Allen throwing down a dunk in a win over Wisconsin.

After outlasting Wisconsin in a grueling OT contest, Florida is going to be more spent than South Carolina. KeVaughn Allen (35 pts) stood out as the heart and soul of the Gator offense. However, during that Florida Wisconsin match-up we saw the offensive futility from the rest of Florida. We also saw a lapse in defense from the Gators, as they blew a lead late in the game.

South Carolina plays some of the best defense in the country, and knows how to make you uncomfortable. Contrary to Florida, South Carolina knows how to play with a lead and close teams out.With their offense now starting to kick up a notch led by Sindarious Thornwell (24 pts), South Carolina will have what it needs to knock off Florida. Coach Frank Martin has his team playing at an unbelievable level. From speaking to players in the locker room, you can see the poise and confidence of a team that has unfinished business to attend to.

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

(Featured Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY)

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