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Know Your Murderball Rival: South Carolina


Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive rebounds, fouls, poor shooting, offensive rebounds and fouls. Yeah, this is a Frank Martin team. Get ready.

South Carolina Gamecocks (11-6)

Pace (No. of Possessions)
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.06 1.00
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.27 1.26
2-PT FG% 49.1% 49.0%
3-PT FG% 33.6% 32.4%
FT% 70.5% 66.0%
True Shooting % 54.1% 53.0%

SC Opp.
Assists/Gm 13.2 12.8
Steals/Gm 5.1 8.5
Turnovers/Gm 16.8 14.8
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.09 1.44

SC Opp.
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 11.1 10.8
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 14.5 10.8
Difference +3.4 +0.0

South Carolina is good at one thing.

And since this is Murderball, you already know what that one thing is: offensive rebounds. The Gamecocks can't really shoot, they turn the ball over like crazy, and they foul like, well, a Frank Martin team. But they attack the offensive glass with voracity. If Mizzou's head isn't in this game -- and let's face it: between the massacre at Florida, the injury-riddled roster and the pending allegations against Frank Haith, there's a good chance Mizzou comes out in a bit of a fog -- the Gamecocks will get quite a few second- and third-chance opportunities. There's no guarantee they will take advantage of those opportunities, but they fly at the rim like a Frank Martin team is supposed to.

Ken Pomeroy Stats

SC Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

SC Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 152 62 MU
Effective FG% 127 57 MU
Turnover % 325 294 MU
Off. Reb. % 3 70 SC
MU Offense vs SC Defense Ranks

MU Offense SC Defense Advantage
Efficiency 28 270 MU big
Effective FG% 108 204 MU
Turnover % 114 138 MU
Off. Reb. % 11 160 MU big
FTA/FGA 272 301 MU

Where the Gamecocks are weakest

In a nutshell, they can't really defend near the basket (231st in Def. 2PT%, 130th in Def. Block%), they can't hold onto the ball (325th in TO%, 314th in Off. Steal%), they don't have much of an outside presence (169th in 3PT%), they're short (291st in Effective Height), they're inexperienced (175th in Experience) and they get a lot of shots blocked (285th in Off. Block%).

Where they are best

The 2-pointers that don't get blocked might go in (104th in 2PT%), they draw a lot of fouls (of course), and the guys who get to the line do a decent job of making their free throws. By necessity (i.e. they're in foul trouble all the time), they are deep (55th in Bench Minutes), and while they foul a ton, they typically foul bigs who miss free throws (63rd in Def. FT%). But yeah, this team has one true strength, and we already covered it above. They hit the glass.

South Carolina's Season to Date

  • Wins (Team Rank is from
    at No. 139 LSU (82-73, OT)
    No. 156 Rider (88-76)
    vs. No. 207 UALR (74-62)
    vs. No. 227 Manhattan (63-57)
    vs. No. 230 Missouri State (74-67, OT)
    No. 247 Morgan State (87-71)
    No. 252 Appalachian State (74-69)
    No. 291 Jacksonville (91-74)
    No. 302 UW-Milwaukee (82-75, OT)
    No. 345 Presbyterian (76-60)
    No. 346 S.C. State (80-69)
  • Losses
    No. 64 Clemson (55-64)
    at No. 105 St. John's (65-89)
    No. 155 Vanderbilt (51-58)
    No. 164 Auburn (71-74)
    No. 165 Elon (53-65)
    at No. 223 Mississippi State (54-56)

S.C. vs. No. 51-150, Average Score: Opponent 75.3, South Carolina 67.3 (-8.0)
S.C. vs. No. 151-250, Average Score: South Carolina 68.3, Opponent 65.1 (+3.2)
S.C. vs. No. 251+, Average Score: South Carolina 80.6, Opponent 69.4 (+11.2)

We are almost in the final week of January, and South Carolina has yet to face a team ranked higher than 64th. That's pretty damn impressive, really. I'd have thought that was impossible, even in an iffy SEC. The 'Cocks are 1-2 versus Top 150 teams and just 5-4 versus teams ranked between 151st and 250th. They're not good. But they're active, and they're intense, and those are two adjectives Mizzou might not be tonight.

South Carolina Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Lakeem Jackson (6'5, 235, Sr.) 12.6 0.40 31.9 MPG, 9.6 PPG (61% 2PT, 32% FT), 7.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.3 TOPG, 2.4 PFPG
Brenton Williams (5'11, 175, Jr.) 12.0 0.52 22.9 MPG, 12.0 PPG (52% 2PT, 42% 3PT, 83% FT), 1.6 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.6 TOPG
Michael Carrera (6'5, 212, Fr.) 11.1 0.55 20.0 MPG, 10.2 PPG (46% 2PT, 82% FT), 7.3 RPG, 2.1 TOPG, 3.6 PFPG
Brian Richardson (6'4, 175, Jr.) 8.1 0.39 20.5 MPG, 8.4 PPG (39% 2PT, 39% 3PT, 74% FT), 2.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.2 TOPG
Mindaugas Kacinas (6'7, 210, Fr.) 7.9 0.33 24.3 MPG, 6.9 PPG (64% 2PT, 20% 3PT, 68% FT), 4.9 RPG, 1.9 TOPG, 2.5 PFPG
Bruce Ellington (5'9, 197, Jr.) 5.6 0.19 29.9 MPG, 10.3 PPG (44% 2PT, 23% 3PT, 62% FT), 2.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 3.3 TOPG, 2.9 PFPG
R.J. Slawson (6'8, 220, Jr.) 5.3 0.33 16.1 MPG, 4.9 PPG (46% 2PT, 25% 3PT, 69% FT), 3.9 RPG, 3.4 PFPG
Eric Smith (5'11, 205, Jr.) 4.8 0.17 28.5 MPG, 6.0 PPG (39% 2PT, 24% 3PT, 67% FT), 3.7 APG, 1.8 RPG, 2.6 TOPG
Damien Leonard (6'4, 190, So.) 2.9 0.22 13.1 MPG, 4.1 PPG (35% 2PT, 36% 3PT, 70% FT), 2.2 RPG, 1.1 TOPG
Laimonas Chatkevicius (6'11, 255, Fr.) 2.4 0.25 9.6 MPG, 3.2 PPG (54% 2PT, 33% 3PT, 60% FT), 2.3 RPG, 1.3 TOPG

* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds. It redistributes a team's points based not only on points scored, but also by giving credit for assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls. It is a stat intended to determine who had the biggest overall impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

  • Highest Usage%: Carrera (27%), Ellington (24%), Williams (23%)
  • Highest Floor%: Jackson (45%), Williams (41%), Kacinas (40%)
  • Highest %Pass: Smith (67%), Jackson (54%), Richardson (46%)
  • Highest %Shoot: Leonard (45%), Ellington (38%), Williams (37%)
  • Highest %Fouled: Carrera (23%), Slawson (19%), Williams (18%)
  • Highest %T/O: Kacinas (14%), Leonard (13%), Ellington (12%)
  • Senior guard LaShay Page would have been fourth on the list above (8.3 Adj. GS points per game), but he has been ruled academically ineligible for the rest of the season. So that means wide receiver Bruce Ellington has gotten a ton of playing time right out of the gates since football season ended. He is exactly what you would expect from a football player-turned-guard: He is active, physical and quick, and he can't shoot.
  • Michael Carrera might be the most Frank Martin player ever. In just 20 minutes per game, he almost averages a double-double, but he's only averaging 20 minutes per game because he gets into foul trouble so quickly. Eau De Frank.
  • Jackson and Carrera will test the intensity of Mizzou's bigs, that's for sure.

Keys to the Game

  1. Rebounds. Duh. Since 2013 began, Mizzou has been mediocre at best on the glass. In that time, the Tigers have played without either Tony Criswell or Laurence Bowers in each game, and they might be without both Bowers and Earnest Ross tonight, but ... if South Carolina can't grab offensive rebounds, they can't win, even if Mizzou is struggling offensively. So don't let 'em.

  2. Get in Carrera's way. Michael Carrera is pretty damn good. He's also pretty damn foul-prone. Block him out, get in his way, and let him pile up the fouls. If you don't, he'll punish you. He had 23 points and 10 boards in the win over LSU, and he had 17 and 9 versus Jacksonville. He also fouled out against both Clemson and Auburn and committed four fouls against both LSU and Vandy. Get him out of the game.

  3. Make some damn jumpers. Seriously, guys. Phil Pressey has not played very well of late, but he has to get some help. Mizzou has absolutely no reliable offense right now. That has to change at some point.


Pomeroy's projection is an 84-63 Mizzou win, but that involves a Mizzou team that doesn't exist at the moment. With the injuries and South Carolina's offensive rebounding, I see this staying closer than that. How does a 77-66 Mizzou win sound? Tolerable, at least?