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Early SEC basketball predictions are out. Here’s where the Gamecocks stand

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Early SEC basketball predictions are out. Here’s where the Gamecocks stand

August 07, 2018

There’s few people in the sports media world as giddy about college basketball as Jon Rothstein.

The CBS Sports contributor, on his Twitter account, begins a countdown to the season’s first official practice day not long after the previous season ends. On Tuesday morning, he told his 119,000-plus followers we’re down to 49 days.

 

Naturally such a hoops junkie comes out with preseason predictions in early August. Rothstein on Monday took a look at the SEC, a league he said is ready to take a “major, major jump” in 2018-19.

“There was quality NCAA Tournament representation from the SEC in 2018,” Rothstein said on his podcast, “but in 2019, you have several teams in this league that have the chops and the requisites to play into the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend and beyond.”

The SEC sent a league-record eight teams to the Big Dance last season, but only two -- Kentucky and Texas A&M -- advanced to the Sweet 16. South Carolina went 7-11 in the league, finishing 11th in the final standings.

The Gamecocks return five players who started at least 17 games last season and add what Coach Frank Martin feels could be his best recruiting class in his seven years at USC.

Where will they finish in the SEC? Slightly highly than last year, Rothstein said. He’s got the Gamecocks 10th, just above Ole Miss and right behind Missouri.

 

Chris Silva, the reigning co-defensive player of the year in the SEC, has a chance to lead the Gamecocks in scoring and rebounding two consecutive seasons. That hasn’t happened in Columbia since Carlos Powell from 2003-05. The senior, however, did not make Rothstein’s preseason All-SEC first team.

 

Five SEC programs have what Rothstein labels as potential “impact freshmen” AND “under-the-radar freshmen,” South Carolina included.

A.J. Lawson, the four-star recruit from Canada, fits the impact rookie profile.

 

Five SEC programs have what Rothstein labels as potential “impact freshmen” AND “under-the-radar freshmen,” South Carolina included.

A.J. Lawson, the four-star recruit from Canada, fits the impact rookie profile.

 

T.J. Moss, the point guard from Memphis who impressed at last month’s S.C. Pro-Am

, is under the radar.

 

Tre Campbell, the likely starting point guard, is among 10 impact SEC transfers, said Rothstein.

 

Silva and Maik Kotsar (33 starts last season) are the most experienced returning Gamecocks. Rising sophomore Justin Minaya (30 starts) might be the most talented. The 6-foot-5 wing is among 10 breakout candidates from the SEC, according to Rothstein.

 

 

 

 

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