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Game preview: Gamecocks open NCAA Tournament, title defense against N.C. A&T

March Madness has arrived in Columbia.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 seed South Carolina (26-6) vs. No. 15 seed N.C. A&T (23-8)

Start time: 7:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN2

Live stream: watchespn.com

Live audio: 98.5 FM, 1320 AM (Columbia)

How they got here

An automatic qualifier, the Aggies won a share of the MEAC’s regular-season championship on the way to capturing their fourth conference tournament title. This is their third trip to the Big Dance in the past nine years, and they’re riding an 11-game winning streak.

All-time series

The Gamecocks are 2-0 against A&T, most recently defeating the Aggies 102-74 in the 2008 WNIT.

What to watch for

Winners in 19 of its past 20 games, N.C. A&T has compiled some gaudy season statistics: No. 3 nationally in turnovers forced (23.03 per game), fourth in rebounds per game (44.90), and fifth in offensive rebounds per game (17). C’Coriea Foy averages 12.9 points and 3.1 assists per game to lead the Aggies, and Alexus Lessears puts up 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per contest. N.C. A&T also features a Columbia native on its roster: Le’on Hill, a sophomore forward who played at Keenan High School.