South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from Gamecocks' NCAA Tournament win over Indiana

South Carolina basketball beat Indiana in a close game in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament.

South Carolina basketball star Kamilla Cardoso
South Carolina basketball star Kamilla Cardoso / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Thumbs Up 1: Kamilla Cardoso

The best player on the floor on Friday was Kamilla Cardoso.

Cardoso made barbecue chicken of fellow All-American Mackenzie Holmes in the post, racking up 22 points on 10-12 shooting and getting her in foul trouble while on offense and swatting her shot twice and holding her to just two made shots in one-on-one matchups. She won the rebounding battle between the two and had fewer turnovers and fouls.

Cardoso should have had even more points, not because of anything she did wrong, but because she should have had her number called more often. She was just that good on Saturday and was the ultimate difference in what became a really close game in the final minutes.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Thumbs Up 2: Raven Johnson

Raven Johnson has come a long way in the last year.

During last year's NCAA Tournament, she scored just 26 total points in 5 tournament games despite being left completely open in the Final Four contest against Iowa.

The confidence difference is drastic for the Gamecock point guard, and her play on the floor shows it. As the team's 2nd-leading scorer (14 points), she took 7 shots and made 5, including going 3-3 from the arc. She also added 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals while turning the ball over zero times.

She also played some solid defense, especially in the 1st half, as she made life difficult for bigger guard Chloe Moore-McNeil in the early goings.

If Raven Johnson can play like that again, she should be able to lead her squad to another Final Four.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Thumbs Up 3: Outside Jumpshots

South Carolina's biggest change from last year to this year (other than personnel) is outside shooting. Carolina could count on a make or two from outside from Zia Cooke, Raven Johnson, and Brea Beal last season, and that was about it. This year, USC has become one of the top shooting teams in the country.

Bree Hall and Te-Hina Paopao opened the scoring with 3-pointers in the first minute of the game as the Gamecocks canned 5 outside shots in the 1st period.

Though the Gamecocks made just 8 for the entire game (that's not a bad number), they made 50% of them. Hall, Paopao, and Raven Johnson all made multiple perimeter jumpers, and Johnson went 3-3 on her 3-point shots.

With the inside presence that is Kamilla Cardoso (and players like Chloe Kitts, Ashlyn Watkins, and Sania Feagin), when the Gamecocks are hitting from outside, they are nearly unstoppable. If they keep up this shooting efficiency, they won't be beaten this NCAA Tournament.