The Southeastern Conference tournament opens Wednesday night when No. 12 seed South Carolina meets No. 13 seed Ole Miss in Nashville, Tenn.
The winner will face No. 5 seed Tennessee on Thursday.
South Carolina (11-20, 4-14 SEC) will try to build on Saturday’s season-ending 61-55 home victory over Georgia on Senior Day.
To close out the campaign, Meechie Johnson (18 points) and Jacobi Wright (14) canned five free throws down the stretch to preserve the win and help cap coach Lamont Paris’ first season with a victory.
On Monday, the conference announced that Columbia, S.C., native and Gamecocks leading scorer Gregory “GG” Jackson II had been named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
The 6-foot-9 Jackson averaged 15.1 points per game (ninth in the league) and scored 20 points or more on 10 instances this season. That output was the most 20-point games by a South Carolina freshman in program history since the school joined the SEC in 1991-92.
A five-star recruit who turned down offers from North Carolina and Duke to stay home, the forward could play his last game Wednesday and opt for the NBA draft.
“Guys have opportunities and they work hard for those opportunities,” Paris said. “Should opportunities present themselves to him and he decides to do that, I’m his No. 1 fan.”
Ole Miss interim coach Win Case was impressed with his Rebels (11-20, 3-15) in Saturday’s 82-77 defeat in the regular-season finale, which featured 11 ties and 18 lead changes.
“I’ve said all about (our) character,” Case said. “Now, it’s a totally new season and getting ready for the SEC Tournament. We’re excited to go to Nashville and let the chips fall where they may.”
The Rebels are reportedly courting Chris Beard to be their next bench boss. The ex-Texas Longhorns coach was fired Jan. 5 after a Dec. 12 arrest for a third-degree felony assault charge, which was dismissed last month.
Ole Miss and South Carolina split the season series, with each posting road wins — the Rebels by 12 in Columbia, S.C., on Jan. 17 and the Gamecocks by three in Oxford, Miss., on Feb. 11.
–Field Level Media