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Game preview: South Carolina men continue road trip with stop at No. 5 Michigan

Tough game, to put it mildly.

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina (4-4) vs. No. 5 Michigan (9-0)

Start time: Noon

TV: Fox Sports 1

Live stream:

Last game

The Gamecocks started strong but couldn’t hold on down the stretch against what was then just a two-win Wyoming team, faltering 74-63 in another tough-to-watch loss on the road. Despite outplaying the Cowboys for most of the first half and taking a four-point lead to the locker room, South Carolina sputtered, eventually allowing a game-deciding 17-4 run.

A.J. Lawson again led the Gamecocks, scoring 15 points to go with nine rebounds. Chris Silva put up an 11-point, eight-rebound performance, but the rest of the South Carolina roster was otherwise pretty quiet.

The Gamecocks shot brutal 15 percent from 3 and just 33.3 percent from the field.

What to watch for

As their No. 5 ranking and undefeated record would imply, the Wolverines are very good. Michigan has won 23 of its past 24 games, dating back to last season — when Big Blue was the national runner-up. The Wolverines have already dipped into conference play, having beaten Purdue (76-57) and Northwestern (62-60).

Offensively, Michigan is led by the three-headed monster of freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis (17 points per game), senior guard Charles Matthews (13.3), and sophomore guard Jordan Poole (11.9). The Wolverines are sound defensively as well, holding opponents to a 52.7 points per game average. The young and currently out-of-sorts Gamecocks are likely to get overwhelmed in this one, and I can’t help thinking it’s too bad this out-of-conference schedule wasn’t played a couple years ago.