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South Carolina seeks a sharp performance in its NCAA Tournament opener

The NCAA Tournament tips off Friday at the Colonial Life Arena with the home team facing Norfolk State in a first round contest.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A 38-game winning streak and the status as the number one overall seed is why South Carolina is heavily favored in its NCAA Tournament First Round matchup with Norfolk State.

The defending national champions are expected to roll through the first few rounds all the way to the Final Four in Dallas.

But the Gamecocks want to arrive in the Lonestar State playing its best basketball and that means playing up to the standard that has been set. So even though Carolina is on paper expected to have little trouble with the MEAC Tournament champion, head coach Dawn Staley does not want her team to just show up and put on a below-average performance.

The coach says it is important to get off to a good start against Norfolk State and if that does not happen, there is a large contingent of highly talented bench players who are more than willing to come in and set things right.

Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. at the Colonial Life Arena. Marquette and South Florida will play the first game of the day starting at 11:30 a.m. 

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