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Game preview: Gamecocks take on 10th-seeded Virginia in NCAA Tournament’s second round

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley will square off against her alma mater.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 seed South Carolina (27-6) vs. No. 10 seed Virginia (19-13)

Start time: 9 p.m.


Live stream:

Live audio: 98.5 FM, 1320 AM (Columbia)

How they got here

The Cavaliers are in their first NCAA Tournament since 2010. Finishing sixth in the ACC, they were eliminated in the conference tournament quarterfinals by Notre Dame. Virginia played the third toughest schedule this season, battling three of the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 seeds: the Irish (twice), Louisville (twice), and Mississippi State. The Hoos lost all three, but they’re no strangers to competing against the upper echelon of the sport.

Earlier on Friday, Virginia eliminated seventh-seeded California 68-62 for its first NCAA Tournament win since 2009. It was a nip-and-tuck affair, with the Bears clinging to a 31-30 halftime lead, and the Cavaliers got the edge when Dominique Toussaint’s 3-pointer broke a 57-all tie with a minute left in the game.

All-time series

Virginia holds a 3-2 edge against South Carolina, with the teams last meeting in 2007.

What to watch for

This will be an emotional matchup for South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who faces off against her alma mater. As a Cavalier, she led UVA to three Final Fours and one national championship appearance, and she also netted national player of the year honors in 1991 and 1992. This is the third time she’ll coach against Virginia, but her first time with the Gamecocks — while at Temple, she took two losses to the Cavaliers.

The 2018 Hoos feature a stout defense, with only one opponent — Notre Dame — managing to crack 80 points and shoot more than 50%. Sophomore center Felicia Aiyeotan, an ACC All-Defensive Team selection, anchors that effort with a conference-leading 2.1 blocked shots per game and is 33rd nationally with 65 blocked shots. Dominique Toussaint, the hero of UVA’s victory against Cal, leads the Cavaliers with 11.3 points per game.