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NIT Preview: South Carolina vs. High Point

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South Carolina opens the 2016 NIT at home on Tuesday night against High Point.

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South Carolina (24-8) vs High Point (21-10)

WATCH: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU

During the middle of the first 2016 NCAA Tournament game, South Carolina will tip-off in their consolation prize after not receiving a bid on Selection Sunday.

That prize: a No. 1 seed in the 2016 National Initiation Tournament. Once the crown jewel of college basketball, many years ago, the NIT has fallen by the way-side, becoming a second-tier tournament, filled with second-class teams.

The Gamecocks are no stranger to the NIT. They reached the finals in 2002 and won back-to-back championships in Madison Square Garden in 2005 and 2006.

Despite one of the best seasons in the last 20 years of the program, USC did not make the NCAA Tournament due to a lackluster nonconference slate and a group of bad conference losses, combined with just one signature win.

They'll try to recover from Sunday's heartbreak in time for Tuesday night's game against the Panthers. High Point claimed a share of the Big South regular-season crown this year but was unable to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

The Panthers will be down two big horses in the upcoming NIT. John Brown is an NBA-level player and was the Big South Player of the Year, and also won the Big South Defensive Player of the Year award. Adam Weary earned second team All-Big South honors while posting 12.3 points on 51.3 percent shooting. Both Brown (foot) and Weary (knee) are out for Tuesday's game.

Frank Martin likes to earn his wins on defense and he'll face a challenge in the Panthers as High Point ranked 21st nationally in field goal percentage and 22nd in assist-to-turnover ratio. Scott Cherry, a former Gamecock assistant, is the head coach in High Point, and thought of as one of the better coaches in the country among the mid-major types. The Panthers attack will likely be decimated without Brown and Weary so their offensive balance won't be there to counter USC's pressure.

The one thing High Point does have on their side is attitude. The Panthers will likely walk into Colonial Life Arena with a healthy mindset. I'm not so sure what planet the Gamecocks will be on Tuesday night. Michael Carrera is still questionable to play and after Sunday's news, one wonders where their collective head will be at entering a game they didn't think they would be in come March.