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Final Four capsule: South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell fires up a shot during open practice on Friday at  University of Phoenix Stadium. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell fires up a shot during open practice on Friday at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Starters: Sindarius Thornwell – guard, PJ Dozier – guard, Duane Notice – guard, Maik Kotsar - forward, Chris Silva - forward

Top scorer: Thornwell, 21.6

Reb. leader: Thornwell, 7.2 rpg

Assists leader: Dozier/Thornwell 2.8 apg

Best player: See the guy listed in each category above? Sindarius Thornwell plays pretty mean defense, too. The Gamecocks only managed a 3-3 record in nonleague games when Thornwell was suspended. Without Thornwell, USC is a pedestrian team. But with him the Gamecocks are a national title contender.

How to win: South Carolina plays stifling perimeter defense and holds opponents to less than 30-percent from beyond the 3-point arc. The trick against the Gamecocks then is to pound the ball inside offensively. If starting posts Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar get in foul trouble, USC will struggle.

Three things to know

1. South Carolina is playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade.

2. Prior to this season the Gamecocks have never advanced past the Sweet 16.

3. Thornwell accounted for 30.2-percent of his team’s scoring in SEC games, the second-most of any SEC player over the last 18 seasons.

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