David Cloninger

Michigan to visit Colonial Life Arena

Sindarius Thornwell and USC fans will welcome Michigan to Colonial Life Arena this year.
Sindarius Thornwell and USC fans will welcome Michigan to Colonial Life Arena this year. tglantz@thestate.com

“Beat the teams, and beat the right teams,” the NCAA tournament selection committee told South Carolina and every other team left hanging last year.

Frank Martin can’t guarantee the Gamecocks will win, but plenty of the “right” teams are on USC’s 2016-17 non-conference schedule.

USC’s non-SEC slate continued to approach finalization Wednesday as Michigan made official what many had long known. The Wolverines will visit Colonial Life Arena on Nov. 23 this year, with the Gamecocks returning the game in 2017-18.

Michigan joins Final Four participant Syracuse, NCAA tournament team Seton Hall, top NIT seed Monmouth, Memphis and Clemson on the Gamecocks’ non-conference crucible. The Wolverines are one of the teams, along with Syracuse and Vanderbilt, thought to have gotten into the NCAA tournament over USC last year.

The Wolverines have been to five of the past six NCAA tournaments, finishing national runner-up in 2013. They have not played the Gamecocks since the finals of the 2006 NIT, which USC won.

A series with Massachusetts, agreed upon in conjunction with the Minutemen’s football team visiting Columbia in 2016, will begin in 2017-18 with the Gamecocks going to Amherst first.

The SEC will release its conference schedule in mid-August. The Gamecocks’ three home-and-home opponents are Georgia, Mississippi State and Tennessee.

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