Gamecocks to air out frustrations in NIT

Gamecocks to air out frustrations in NIT

If South Carolina were despondent over missing the NCAA tournament with a 24-8 record, the pity party ends now.

Starting at 7 p.m. ET in Columbia, Frank Martin’s troops can stage a brutal revenge quest in the NIT. The Gamecocks draw High Point (21-10) in an opening-round matchup that may actually feature blood-curdling screams.

According to oddsmakers at online sports book Bovada.lv, the host school opens as a massive 17-point favorite. Such a figure becomes doubly impressive in light of guard Michael Carrera’s bum hip.

South Carolina managed quite well without its leading scorer and rebounder as the SEC tourney progressed – until Georgia stormed from behind to steal a victory in Saturday’s quarterfinal action. The Gamecocks then stood by, helplessly, while other programs received their dancing shoes.

Perhaps Martin’s team should look in the mirror, though. South Carolina dropped three of four to conclude the regular season. February had brought dubious defeats at the hands of Missouri and Mississippi State, too.

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Still, there’s no disputing the overwhelming case of positive vibes moving forward. A silver lining also exists in the sense that the fans inside Colonial Life Arena receive at least one additional chance to cheer on their favorites.

Unfortunately for High Point, it literally limps into the festivities here. Ankle trouble sidelined No. 1 offensive threat John Brown during the Big South tourney. Currently, invaluable second option Adam Weary is wrestling with a bothersome knee.

Such ailments simply prevent the Panthers from executing their preferred up-tempo style. Consider High Point’s 6-17 ATS mark in its last 23 tilts for just a second, as well, and you’ll know what to do.

TUESDAY NCAA FREE PICK: SOUTH CAROLINA -17

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