Staff Predictions: Men’s basketball NCAA Tournament vs. South Carolina

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Photo by Austin Anderson

Steve Wojciechowski (right) is in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach for the first time.

Jack Goods, sports editor and men’s basketball beat writer — Marquette 77, South Carolina 71

South Carolina does have one of the best 3-point defenses in the country, but if anyone can solve that, it’s Marquette. Andrew Rowsey scored 30 points when he played South Carolina while with UNC Asheville, and he’ll be relied on heavily again tonight. Although the guards will be the focus, this game could come down to whose big man gets into foul trouble first, with Marquette’s Luke Fischer and South Carolina’s Chris Silva being two of the worst offenders in Division I basketball.

The Gamecocks are cold right now, losing five of their last seven games. Their most recent losses came to two teams outside the tournament, Ole Miss and Alabama. South Carolina’s offense has stalled even more than it normally does, creating an opening for Marquette to win its first NCAA Tournament game under Steve Wojciechowski.

Matt Unger, assistant sports editor and men’s basketball columnist — Marquette 85, South Carolina 80

Although South Carolina has a stifling defense, the Golden Eagles 3-point shots will fall early. The Gamecocks’ lack of offense (South Carolina has the ninth worst offense in the entire tournament field according to KenPom) won’t allow them to close the gap, and some timely shooting from Katin Reinhardt will lead Marquette to victory.