Mar 14, 2024; Nashville, TN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Lamont Paris talks with guard Meechie Johnson (5) against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first half at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina, Oregon Meet for First Time in NCAA Tournament

In a combined 237 seasons of collegiate men’s basketball, South Carolina (26-7) and Oregon (23-11) have never met; well, until Thursday night.

Round one of the NCAA Tournament kicks off with the Gamecocks and the Ducks squaring off in Pittsburg. Both teams are coming off deep runs in their respective conference tournaments, with Oregon winning the PAC-12 and South Carolina losing in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.

South Carolina Breakdown

The Gamecocks have been a force to reckon with in the SEC, notching a 13-5 record on their way to the second best record in conference play.

The leading scorer for South Carolina, Meechie Johnson, is averaging 13.8 ppg with 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists on the season. The junior guard is sitting right at his average with 13.6 ppg over the last five games.

That being said, Johnson has had back-to-back games where he scored less than 10 points (3 against Auburn and 6 against Arkansas). South Carolina will need the Ohio native to return to regular season form if it wants to win Thursday.

Familiar Faces

Senior guard Jermaine Couisnard transferred to Oregon after his redshirt-junior season.

Since transferring to the Ducks, Couisnard has averaged 14.1 ppg and help Oregon to a 2024 PAC-12 Tournament victory. While in Columbia, Couisnard averaged 11.4 ppg over three seasons. His best year coming as a freshman when he scored 363 on the season (12.1 ppg).

The guard will certainly be looking to get a big win over his former team Thursday.

ESPN Prediction

South Carolina is the favorite in Thursday’s game with a 54.3% chance to win per ESPN Analytics. Both teams are expected to come out slow with the O/U set at 133.5, tied for the third lowest line of the day.

What’s Next

The Winner of Thursday’s game will go on to face the winner of Creighton and Akron on either March 23 or 24. Creighton is the heavy favorite in that game with an 89.7% chance to win per ESPN.

About Alexander Vafeas

Alexander Vafeas is a second-year Sports Journalism student at the University of Florida. When not writing about high school sports for WRUF, Alexander works as a communications intern with the University of Florida Athletic Association.

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