‘I want to be able to earn the 4-seed.’ Big opportunity awaits USC in finale with UGA with videos
March 08, 2019
Tre Campbell Media Availability — 3/8/19
Hassani Gravett Media Availability — 3/8/19
Chris Silva Media Availability — 3/8/19
When South Carolina takes the floor for Saturday’s regular-season finale, there’s more on the line than just getting a win for the team’s seniors playing in their final home game.
With a win, the Gamecocks, who have fought through plenty of adversity this season, would lock up the No. 4 seed in the SEC Tournament and get one step closer to their ultimate goal of playing in the postseason.
The Gamecocks sit at 10-7 right now in the conference and hold tiebreakers over the other four either nine or 10 win teams in the conference: Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Florida.
The only scenario in which South Carolina doesn’t clinch a top four seed would be if they lose at home to Georgia, who’s 2-15 in the SEC this year and Auburn (10-7) upsets Tennessee.
With a win Saturday, the Gamecocks would get that double-bye and be guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals, not having to play until Friday.
It’s a spot South Carolina grabbed early in the year after starting 3-0 in league play and sustaining success despite injuries taking their toll late in the year.
Through all of it though, the Gamecock have been able to maintain that spot in the top third of the league and they could be, as Chris Silva worded it, a “gift” if they win Saturday.
“One thing Chuck has been saying is that we’re like a team that came into a new neighborhood and no one wants us there,” Hassani Gravett said. “Through the trials and tribulations we’ve just stayed there and maintained that fourth spot. Hopefully we can do that this Saturday.”
Not having to play until Friday if they get the double bye would also give AJ Lawson an extra day to rehab that injured ankle he’s been battling for two weeks.
Lawson left the Alabama game early after severely spraining his ankle and hasn’t played in the team’s last two games.
The Gamecocks have been playing with seven scholarship players down the stretch with Lawson out and an added day of rest for the freshman could only be a good thing for the Gamecocks.
“That would be big-time for us. We’re limited on bodies that can go right now,” Gravett said. “That would help us get more rest, probably allow AJ to come back as well with that ankle. It would be huge for us. Them it puts us in the best position possible to make it to the tournament.”
The Gamecocks (15-15, 10-7 SEC) are still scrapping and clawing trying to fight their way into the NCAA Tournament.
It’s an uphill battle right now with TeamRankings giving them a six percent chance to make the dance right now. That goes up to 8.5 percent with a win Saturday and a win in the tournament and up to 43.8 percent if the Gamecocks make it to the SEC championship game Sunday.
“We’re trying to make the NCAA tournament. Everything else is irrelevant. We’re not trying to think about that; we’re trying to go out with a huge bang,” Gravett said. “It’s something some people don’t experience, so for us to experience that a second time would be more fulfilling.”