USC will play its first NCAA Tournament game in over a decade Friday night when the Gamecocks face Marquette in a first round match up in Greenville. The naysayers will give you reasons why the Gamecocks will lose this game, but below you will find three legit, rock solid reasons why will win.
1) Home cooking
USC caught a huge break before the tournament even started. Getting a seven seed and being placed less than two hours from home in Greenville was a huge coupe for them. Even Frank Martin seemed a little surprised the Gamecocks ended up with such an advantageous destination. He expected to be “out West” or at best a 10 seed somewhere like Orlando or Buffalo. USC was 15-3 at home this season and will get the benefit of playing what will essentially be a home game for them Friday night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
2) Defense wins tournament games
Marquette is a solid team and there aren’t really any easy outs in the NCAA Tournament, especially when you are talking about a 7 seed vs 10 seed. That said, not all matchups are created equal and this is a pretty good one for USC. Marquette’s bread and butter is it’s 3-point shooting; they average over 10 per game. USC’s strength is their 3-point defense; they are ranked in the top 5 nationally in that category. The Gamecocks have been outstanding at taking away what teams like to do and making them uncomfortable. Remember Florida going 0-17 from 3-point land against them earlier this season? That salty defense being fueled by a Garnet and Black dominated crowd will be huge Friday night.
3) The Gamecocks are due!
It has been 44 years since USC last won an NCAA Tournament game. 203 teams have won a game in the tournament since the Gamecocks last won. Come on! Thursday Northwestern won its first ever NCAA Tournament game so maybe that is a good omen. I know “being due” isn’t the most scientific evidence to cite, but the Gamecocks have to win a tournament game eventually and it may as well be this year.
Just in case you still aren’t convinced, how about another reason for you. It’s a simple one. Sindarius Thornwell. The Gamecocks senior guard has been the best player on the court in pretty much every game he’s played this season. The SEC Player of the Year has been working to get on this stage for four years. Expect him to shine.
If you want to see 3 reasons why USC will lose to Marquette you can do so here.
KMac picked the Gamecocks to beat Marquette. Take issue with his reasons that they’ll win? Then let him know on Twitter @KmacMustDie