Massachusetts (3-4) at South Carolina (5-2)
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Colonial Life Arena
KenPom prediction: South Carolina 74, Massachusetts 60
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TV: WatchESPN/SEC Network Plus
Radio: 107.5 The Game in the Columbia area (click here for a list of radio affiliates)
Series: Massachusetts leads 1-0
Last meeting: Dec. 29, 1992 – Massachusetts won 84-66 in Springfield, Mass.
Coach: Matt McCall (51-22 in three seasons overall; first season at UMass – 3-4)
Projected starters: G Luwane Pipkins (17.3 ppg), G Rayshawn Miller (6.1), G C.J. Anderson (9.9), F Malik Hines (7.7), C Rashaan Holloway (10.7)
Last game: UMass lost to Quinnipiac, 68-66, on Wednesday
Notes: The Minutemen are sixth in the Atlantic 10 in both scoring (72.9 points per game) and scoring defense (70.9) . … UMass has faced just one Power 5 conference team this season, losing to 14th-ranked Minnesota by 18 on Nov. 24. ... McCall is a Florida alumnus who served two stints on Billy Donovan’s staff – as director of operations from 2006-08 and as assistant coach from 2011-15.
Coach: Frank Martin (218-130 in 10 seasons overall; sixth season at USC — 101-76)
Projected starters: G Hassani Gravett (8.4); G Frank Booker (10.0); G/F Justin Minaya (9.6); F Chris Silva (12.7); F Maik Kotsar (11.1)
Last game: USC lost to Temple, 76-60, on Thursday in New York
Notes: Silva’s run of five games of reaching double figures in scoring ended Thursday when he managed just five points against the Owls. ... The Gamecocks had a season-high eight of their shots blocked in the Temple loss. The game marked the third time this year an opponent has had at least six blocks. … Freshman guard David Beatty scored a career-high 13 points against Temple. That was more than his previous four games combined.
1. Back home
It’s been 19 days since the Gamecocks last played in Columbia. They won’t have a longer stretch away from CLA this season.
UMass is 0-2 in true road games this year, falling at Quinnipiac and at Harvard.
2. Silva’s response
It’s safe to say Martin challenged his most important player following Silva’s struggles in the Temple loss. Silva played “as bad a game he’s played since his freshman year” in New York.
How does the junior – and team leader – respond?
3. Bench watch
One positive from the Temple loss was the return of solid production from USC’s bench players. The Gamecock reserves were all but invisible against FIU – see four points – but responded with 21 points against the Owls.
Big spotlight on Beatty. The freshman had a mini coming-out party in NYC. How often can he replicate the performance? With Kory Holden still not at 100 percent, Carolina could use a consistent guard off the bench.