South Carolina (2-1) vs. Providence (2-1)
Start time: 2:30 p.m.
Live stream: watchespn.com
After a disappointing result against Stony Brook, the Gamecocks got back in the win column with a much-needed and dominant 81-64 showing against Norfolk State. Guards Hassani Gravett and A.J. Lawson, who continues to stand out early in his freshman season, led South Carolina with 18 points apiece, and the Gamecocks shot at a 38 percent clip behind the arc. Compared to its sluggish performance against the Seawolves, South Carolina was improved in pretty much every area — defense, rebounding, free-throw shooting — but veteran big men Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar continue to scuffle through a slow start to the year.
What to watch for
Hailing from the rugged Big East, Providence holds wins over Siena and Holy Cross, and lost to mid-major power Wichita State. Six-foot-seven junior guard Alpha Diallo, chosen for the league’s preseason first-team, leads the Friars with 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. The Friars, picked to finish third in the Big East, have made five straight NCAA appearances, so they know what they’re doing in tournament environments. This will be a big early test for the Gamecocks.
This is also South Carolina’s next-to-last game in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, hosted in Uncasville, Conn. The Gamecocks will face either George Washington or Michigan on Sunday.