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Game preview: South Carolina faces upstart Buffalo in NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16

The Gamecocks go up against an unlikely foe in the 11th-seeded Bulls.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 seed South Carolina (28-6) vs. No. 11 seed Buffalo (29-5)

Start time: 11:30 a.m.

TV: ESPN

Live stream: watchespn.com

Live audio: 107.5 FM (Columbia)

How they got here

MAC at-large bid Buffalo has been the surprise of the tournament. The Bulls first dominated sixth-seeded South Florida in a 102-79 blowout, then handled third-seeded Florida State to the tune of 86-65 to become just the third MAC team and the 12th 11 seed to reach the Sweet 16. In fact, the Bulls’ win over USF was their first-ever NCAA Tournament win. To say they’re riding high right now would be an understatement.

All-time series

South Carolina leads 1-0, having beaten Bufffalo 66-54 in a 2007 game in Columbia.

What to watch for

Buffalo is powered by Stephanie Reid and Cierra Dillard in the backcourt, who are averaging 47.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists and three steals as a duo through the NCAA Tournament so far. Reid is one of three NCAA players to tally 1,200+ points, 600+ assists, 300+ rebounds, and 200+ steals across her career.

On the South Carolina side, A’ja Wilson is just one block shy of tying her own school record, and Ty Harris needs 10 assists to tie the program record. After a quiet SEC Tournament, Bianca Jackson has been strong in the NCAAs, averaging 13.3 points on 50% shooting from the field. As the tournament shifts to a neutral site in Albany, N.Y., and with a possible matchup against UConn looming, the Gamecocks will need to avoid Cinderella magic.