South Carolina (9-3) at Ole Miss (7-5)
When: 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Pavilion at Ole Miss
KenPom prediction: Ole Miss 75, South Carolina 74
Radio: 107.5 The Game in Columbia area
Series: Ole Miss leads, 19-18
Last meeting: March 4, 2017 – Ole Miss won 62-60 in Oxford
Coach: Frank Martin (222-131 in 11 seasons overall; Sixth season at USC — 105-77). Martin is 4-4 against Ole Miss.
Projected starters: G Hassani Gravett (8.3 ppg); G Frank Booker (11.1); F Justin Minaya (9.3); F Chris Silva (12.8); F Maik Kotsar (9.8)
Last game: Beat Limestone 74-45 on Wednesday at home
Notes: One of Gravett’s three starts during the 2016-17 season came at Ole Miss. The then-sophomore scored 10 points, made six assists and grabbed five rebounds in a Gamecocks loss. ... As of Saturday, USC ranked 13th in the 14-team SEC in free throw percentage (66.3). … Nine different Gamecocks have hit 3-pointers this season. Only eight USC players did that last season.
Coach: Andy Kennedy (262-158 in 13 seasons overall; Twelfth season at Ole Miss – 241-145). Kennedy is 7-8 against South Carolina.
Projected starters: G Breein Tyree (8.6), G Deandre Burnett (14.4), G Terence Davis (16.1), F Bruce Stevens (9.3), C Dominik Olejnicza (4.1)
Last game: Beat Bradley 82-59 on Dec. 22 at home
Notes: Ole Miss was picked to finish 10th in the preseason SEC poll, a spot ahead of South Carolina. … The Rebels and Gamecocks share a common opponent in Illinois State. Ole Miss took an overtime loss to the Redbirds on Dec. 16 at home. USC lost to ISU by four points on Nov. 16 in Conway. … According to Ken Pomeroy, Ole Miss ranks 39th nationally in offensive efficiency. The Rebels are scoring 112.1 points per 100 possessions. The Gamecocks are allowing just 92.8 points per 100 possessions.
1. Local product faces the Gamecocks
Devontae Shuler played two seasons at Irmo High School before transferring to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. The top 100 recruit picked the Rebels over South Carolina, Miami and Oklahoma State, among others.
The 6-foot-2 freshman guard has started four games this season. He’s fifth on Ole Miss in scoring and assists. Shuler leads the Rebels in steals.
2. On the road again
South Carolina is opening SEC play on the road for a third consecutive season. The Gamecocks won at Georgia last season and at Auburn in 2016.
This is also marks USC’s eighth game away from Colonial Life Arena this season. The Rebels are 6-3 at home this year with losses to South Dakota State, Virginia Tech and Illinois State.
3. Guard watch
Shuler aside, Ole Miss has an experienced backcourt. That was Clemson’s formula for beating the Gamecocks two weeks ago.
Burnett is a fifth-year senior who ranks third in the SEC in assist to turnover ratio and fourth in assists. Davis is a junior who ranks sixth in the SEC in scoring.
“(Kennedy’s) guard play is real good,” Martin said, “and obviously our guard play is all new. So trying to figure out a way to get a par there, it would be real important for us to have success.”