USC Men's Basketball

South Carolina basketball vs. Coastal Carolina: How to watch, what to watch for

Frank Martin says his veteran posts seem to have forgotten the Gamecocks’ playbook

South Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin says veteran forwards Maik Kotsar and Chris Silva have not known several of the plays called during the Gamecocks' recent games, including Monday's home loss to Wofford.
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South Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin says veteran forwards Maik Kotsar and Chris Silva have not known several of the plays called during the Gamecocks' recent games, including Monday's home loss to Wofford.

Game info

Who: Coastal Carolina (4-3) at South Carolina (3-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Colonial Life Arena

KenPom prediction: South Carolina 79, Coastal Carolina 66

TV: SEC Network

Radio: 107.5 The Game in Columbia area

Series: South Carolina leads, 2-1

Last meeting: Dec. 9, 2017— South Carolina won, 80-78, in Columbia

COASTAL CAROLINA

Coach: Cliff Ellis (829-499 in 45 seasons overall; 12th season at Coastal — 217-150)

Projected starters: G Tre Brown (4.0 points per game), G David Pierce (8.0), G Amidou Bamba (9.4), G Ajay Saunders (3.0), F Zac Cuthbertson (19.9)

Last game: Beat Methodist, 88-57, on Nov. 20 at home

KenPom ranking: 195 (No. 101 in offense efficiency, No. 203 in defense efficiency)

Notes: The Chanticleers were picked to finish 10th in the preseason Sun Belt Conference poll. Cuthbertson, who scored 11 points in the loss to USC last season, was on the league’s preseason second-team. ... Last year’s 14-18 record broke CCU’s streak of four straight seasons with 20 or more wins. ... This is Coastal’s first and only scheduled game against a team from a Power Five conference this season. Its wins have come over Ferrum (Division III team), Campbell, UNC Asheville and Methodist (Division III).

SOUTH CAROLINA

Coach: Frank Martin (233-147 in 12 seasons overall; seventh season at USC — 116-93)

Projected starters: G Tre Campbell (6.3), G A.J. Lawson (13.2), G Hassani Gravett (9.2), F Chris Silva (10.2), F Maik Kotsar (8.3)

Last game: Lost to Wofford, 81-61, on Monday at home

KenPom ranking: 74 (No. 145 in offense efficiency, No. 37 in defense efficiency)

Notes: Gravett started Monday in place of the injured Justin Minaya and logged 39 minutes. That’s the longest a Carolina player has been on the floor since Gravett went for 41 in an overtime loss to Mississippi State last season. ... The Gamecocks, at 42.4, are last in the SEC in field goal percentage. ... Kotsar’s 10 rebounds in the Wofford loss left the junior one board shy of tying his career-high. The 6-foot-11 Kotsar’s previous game of double-digit boards came against Division II Lander on Dec. 27, 2016.

STORYLINES

1. Bounce-back?

Facing Wofford wasn’t going to be easy, but it at least gave the Gamecocks a chance at a three-game winning streak going into a brutal December schedule.

The 20-point loss, which came after a resounding win over George Washington, now makes Friday’s game feel like a must-get before an upcoming four-game stretch against Wyoming (road), No. 5 Michigan (road), No. 4 Virginia and No. 24 Clemson.

USC’s faced tougher opponents this season, but the Chants, as they proved in Columbia last year, won’t make it easy.

2. Game No. 2 without Minaya

Minaya’s injury came late in Sunday’s practice, so the Gamecocks didn’t have much time to prepare without him before tipping with Wofford.

Does Martin stick with the same lineup that forces him to bring a couple freshmen — T.J. Moss, Keyshawn Bryant — off the bench? Or does he go with the group that started Monday’s second half — replacing Campbell, a senior, with Moss at point guard? He might prefer the latter. It allows him to inject experience when needed.

3. Frink’s debut?

South Carolina was doubled up in paint scoring against Wofford as Silva and Kotsar continued with their slow starts to the year. Can a freshman provide a boost to the Carolina interior?

Alanzo Frink (knee) warmed up, but didn’t play Monday. The 6-6, 265-pounder is likely to make his college debut Friday.

“(Frink’s) going to score in the paint,” Martin said earlier this month. “He had moments in practice before he hurt himself when he basically manhandled Chris physically. And Chris is a strong dude.”

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