South Carolina or Oregon? How to pick 6 vs. 11 matchup in 2024 March Madness bracket

South Carolina and Oregon both reached the Final Four in 2017 when the festivities were held in Arizona. The Final Four is headed back to Arizona this year, but only one of the Gamecocks and Ducks will walk away from Thursday’s first-round matchup with their hopes still alive.

It’s been a dream season for the Gamecocks, who have enjoyed little success over the last decade outside of that 2017 run. South Carolina won 26 games under coach Lamont Paris, a 15-win improvement from 2022-23, picking up massive wins over SEC powerhouses such as Kentucky and Tennessee.

The season didn’t play out quite as successfully for Oregon, which was set to miss the NCAA Tournament before a surprise run to the Pac-12 title. Dana Altman’s squad has a history of morphing into a legitimate contender in March, however, and this year appears to be no different.

Here’s a complete guide to Thursday’s matchup between South Carolina and Oregon, including odds, picks and key metrics to know.

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South Carolina vs. Oregon odds

Early odds have South Carolina as a slight 1.5-point favorite entering Thursday’s matchup, according to BetMGM.

  • Odds: South Carolina (-1.5)
  • Date: Thursday, March 21
  • Time: 4 p.m.
  • TV: TNT
  • Arena: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pa.

South Carolina (26-7, 13-5 in SEC)

South Carolina was picked near the bottom of the SEC this season and hadn’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 2017 until hearing its name called on Selection Sunday. Needless to say, the Gamecocks are one of the nation’s best stories entering the big dance.

With wins over Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida, South Carolina cruised to a surprisingly comfortable tournament bid in year two under coach Lamont Paris. Paris went just 11-21 in his first season, but the turnaround he led at Chattanooga, which culminated in a 2022 NCAA Tournament bid, inspired hope that the Gamecocks would turn things around.

Paris’ group is careful with the ball, sitting on a high assist-to-turnover ratio that helps make up for shakier offensive numbers. Leading scorer Meechie Johnson has been at the forefront of the offense, but the emergence of freshman forward Collin Murray-Boyles has been critical to South Carolina’s progress this season.

  • NET ranking: 51
  • KenPom ranking: 49
  • Quad 1 record: 6-5
  • Quad 2 record: 5-0
  • Quad 3 record: 6-2
  • Quad 4 record: 8-0
  • Offensive efficiency ranking: 46th
  • Defensive efficiency ranking: 54th

Key players

Meechie Johnson, G, Jr. (6-2, 184): 13.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.9 apg

B.J. Mack, F, Sr. (6-8, 270): 13.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.3 apg

Collin Murray-Boyles, F, Fr. (6-7, 231): 10.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.8 assists

MORE: Watch 2024 NCAA Tournament games live with Sling

Oregon (23-11, 12-8 in Pac-12)

Oregon just knows how to win in March. The Ducks not only stole a bid in both 2013 and 2019, but they reached the Sweet 16 both times. Now, they are back in the tournament unexpectedly after an exciting Pac-12 Tournament run.

The run wouldn’t have been possible without N’Faly Dante, who missed an early chunk of the season but has been one of the nation’s hottest players of late. Dante was a perfect 12-of-12 in Oregon’s Pac-12 title game win over Colorado, and he’s shooting 87.8 percent over his last five games.

Oregon lacked a high-end rebounder without Dante, but his availability has made the Ducks a much more well-rounded group. South Carolina transfer Jermaine Couisnard has also come on strong, including a 39-point explosion against Arizona earlier in March.

The Ducks are coached by Dana Altman, who is in his 14th season in Eugene. Altman took Oregon to the Final Four in 2017 and has 754 career wins between four stops, including a 16-year stint at Creighton.

The Ducks have struggled a bit more over the last three seasons, but Altman shot down retirement speculation earlier in the month and proved at the Pac-12 Tournament that he’s still very much up to the task. 

  • NET ranking: 59
  • KenPom ranking: 55
  • Quad 1 record: 4-6
  • Quad 2 record: 5-4
  • Quad 3 record: 8-1
  • Quad 4 record: 6-0
  • Offensive efficiency ranking: 50th
  • Defensive efficiency ranking: 70th

Key players

N’Faly Dante, C, Sr. (6-11, 265): 16.2 ppg, 8.8 apg, 1.9 blocks

Jermaine Couisnard, G, Sr. (6-4, 215): 15.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.3 apg

Jackson Shelstad, G, Fr. (6-0, 170): 13.1 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.8 rpg

MORE: Biggest March Madness snubs

South Carolina vs. Oregon prediction

Dana Altman has been here before. This isn’t the first or second time he’s been able to unexpectedly drag Oregon to the NCAA Tournament, and that typically results in a win or two against a vulnerable opponent. South Carolina absolutely could be vulnerable.

The Gamecocks don’t bring much tournament experience to the table at all, and Paris’ Chattanooga team looked ill-prepared and disjointed offensively against Illinois in the 2022 tournament. South Carolina has also been prone to letting games get away from them when not everything is going well. The Gamecocks lost to Auburn by more than 30 points twice and were bludgeoned 74-47 by Alabama during SEC play. 

South Carolina could struggle to match Dante in the paint, lacking a big man with the same rebounding and shot-blocking ability as the Oregon center.

The Gamecocks aren’t necessarily a young team, but they don’t quite match the experience of some of Oregon’s most critical pieces. The Ducks have a coach who has faced every scenario imaginable, and their two core offensive pieces are rife with experience between Dante and Couisnard. Dante appears to be hitting his stride now that he’s fully healthy, and that’s bad news for both South Carolina and any future Oregon opponents.

Bid-stealers have a pretty strong track record, even beyond Oregon’s wins in 2013 and 2019. Richmond upset Iowa after it stole a bid in 2022, and Oregon State rumbled onto the Elite Eight in 2021 after a stunning Pac-12 Tournament run.

The Ducks have the pieces in place to build on their momentum against a less experienced opponent.

MORE: Buy tickets to 2024 March Madness games

History of 6 vs. 11 matchups in NCAA Tournament

In each of the last 18 tournaments, at least one 11-seed has upset a 6-seed.

Recent history had not been kind to 6-seeds before 2023, but only one 11-seed pulled off the upset last year with Pitt shutting down Iowa State.

16 vs. 115 vs. 2 | 14 vs. 3 | 13 vs. 4 | 12 vs. 5

Below is a breakdown of the wins 11-seeds have enjoyed upsets over 6-seeds over the last 10 tournaments.

Year Result
2023 Pittsburgh 59, Iowa State 41
2022 Michigan 75, Colorado State 63
  Notre Dame 78, Alabama 64
  Iowa State 59, LSU 54
2021 UCLA 73, BYU 62
  Syracuse 78, San Diego State 62
2019 Ohio State 62, Iowa State 59
2018 Loyola Chicago 64, Miami (Fla.) 62
  Syracuse 57, TCU 52
2017 Rhode Island 84, Creighton 72
  USC 66, SMU 65
  Xavier 76, Maryland 65
2016 Northern Iowa 75, Texas 72
  Gonzaga 68, Seton Hall 52
  Wichita State 65, Arizona 55
2015 Dayton 66, Providence 53
  UCLA 60, SMU 59
2014 Tennessee 86, UMass 57
  Dayton 60, Ohio State 59
2013 Minnesota 83, UCLA 63


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