Who: No. 14 seed Ole Miss (12-19, 5-13 SEC) vs. No. 11 South Carolina (16-15, 7-11)
What: SEC tournament first round game
When: 9:30 p.m.
Where: Scottrade Center in St. Louis
KenPom prediction: South Carolina 74, Ole Miss 72
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 107.5 The Game in Columbia area
Series: Tied 19-19
Last meeting: Dec. 31, 2017 – Ole Miss won 74-69 in Oxford
Streak: Ole Miss has won two straight
Coach: Tony Madlock (1-3 as interim coach since Andy Kennedy resigned Feb. 18)
Projected starters: G Breein Tyree (10.6 ppg), G Markel Crawford (9.4), G Terrance Davis (13.7), F Marcanvis Hymon (4.5), F Bruce Stevens (10.6)
Last game: Lost to Vanderbilt 82-69 on Saturday in Oxford
Notes: Since winning the tournament championship in 2013, the Rebels are 2-4 in this event, including a loss to South Carolina in 2015. … Ole Miss enters Wednesday losers of 10 of its last 11 games. The lone victory came Feb. 20 at Missouri in Madlock’s debut. … The Rebels are last in the SEC in scoring defense, scoring margin and rebounding defense.
Coach: Frank Martin (229-143 in 11 seasons overall; Sixth season at USC — 112-89). Martin is 4-5 against Ole Miss.
Projected starters: G Hassani Gravett (7.6); G Frank Booker (12.5); G Justin Minaya (7.7); F Chris Silva (14.1); F Maik Kotsar (7.5)
Last game: Lost to Auburn 79-70 on Saturday in Auburn
Notes: The Gamecocks under Martin are 3-5 in the SEC tournament, never advancing past the quarterfinals. … Booker, a graduate transfer, has totaled 368 points this season. That’s 56 more than he scored in his two previous seasons combined. … After an 11-0 start, USC is 1-2 the last three times it’s led at halftime, including losses on consecutive Saturdays to Auburn and Mississippi State.
1. Rematch with a twist
Ole Miss is not the same team the Gamecocks lost to back on New Year’s Eve. A season of turmoil culminated Feb. 18 when Kennedy, Martin’s longtime friend and the Rebels’ all-time winningest coach, resigned after 12 seasons.
Ole Miss is 1-3 in the four games since, giving up an average of 84.5 points.
“They’re playing very similar to how they did under (Kennedy),” Martin said. “They might be playing a little faster. … My eyes are telling me they’re playing a little faster. They’re probably shooting more 3s from multiple places. Andy was big on certain guys shooting 3s, but he didn’t want everybody shooting 3s. I think they got more guys shooting 3s now.”
2. Rematch with a twist, Part II
The first matchup between these two teams also included Wes Myers’ first start at point guard. Gravett missed that game with an ankle injury. Myers filled in with three points, five assists and four turnovers as the Gamecocks didn’t make a field goal over the final 3:43 and lost by five.
Myers enters Wednesday averaging 17 points in his last two games.
“From then to now, I’ve become more aggressive,” Myers said. “Now I know exactly what Coach Martin wants and where our shots are coming from and where I need to get the ball to.”
3. Pack heavy?
Since the SEC expanded to a 14-team tournament in 2013, only once has a first round winner advanced to the semifinals – 13th-seeded Auburn in 2015. No team seeded 11-14 has ever made it from Wednesday to Sunday’s championship.
The USC-Ole Miss winner gets No. 6 seed Arkansas at 9:30 p.m. Thursday. The Gamecocks lost to the Razorbacks, 81-65, on Feb. 6 in Fayetteville.