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Know Your Murderball Rival, Part II: South Carolina

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Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The last one was a little too close for comfort, not to mention we played it at home. In the second Battle of the Franks from Columbia, can Haith lead his team to a much needed road win in the Palmetto State?

South Carolina Since Last Time (2-8)

Pace (No. of Possessions)
Points Per Possession (PPP)
0.88 1.03
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.01 1.29
2-PT FG% 40.7% 49.4%
3-PT FG% 29.1% 31.6%
FT% 60.7% 64.3%
True Shooting % 44.7% 53.0%

S.C. Opp.
Assists/Gm 9.6 12.6
Steals/Gm 5.6 8.2
Turnovers/Gm 13.6 13.9
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.12 1.50

S.C. Opp.
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 12.7 10.4
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 12.4 12.0
Difference -0.3 +1.6

Size matters.

Since we played them last time, they have gotten worse at rebounding the basketball. Their size really hurts them, as their only "bigs" are Slawson at 6'8" and Chatkevicius at 6'11". Bill stated that Chatkevicius is basically Jankovic on speed, takes a lot of shots, draws a lot of fouls, fouls a lot, and turns the ball over a lot. They really need a consistent presence under the rim, and they just don't have that right now. This is also a pretty bad shooting team, and without those second chance opportunities, this offense can be absolutely horrific to watch at times.

Ken Pomeroy Stats

SC Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

SC Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 220 60 MU big
Effective FG% 261 81 MU big
Turnover % 306 288 push
Off. Reb. % 18 28 push
FTA/FGA 174 39 MU big
MU Offense vs SC Defense Ranks

MU Offense SC Defense Advantage
Efficiency 16 159 MU big
Effective FG% 98 192 MU
Turnover % 117 116 push
Off. Reb. % 6 234 MU big
FTA/FGA 228 326 MU big

Where the Gamecocks are weakest

They flat out can't shoot the ball. They're 236th in 2PT%, 262nd in 3PT%, 231st in FT%, and 335 in Off. Block%. Needless to say, they struggle to put points on the board. If Mizzou can play ANY defense on these guys (and after last week, they can't make any promises) the 'Cocks are gonna have a hard time scoring, and when you can't score it's pretty difficult to win games. Aside from not being able to shoot the ball, South Carolina turns the ball over a TON. They're 306th in TO%, and 328th in Off. Steal%. They foul a ton too, and a ton maybe an understatement. They're 326th in Def. FTA/FGA. And right now, they're not very tall, being 272nd in Effective Height. We need Big O and LBO to dominate this one.

Where they are best

Well, although they foul a lot, they tend to foul the right guys, being 17th in Def. FT%. I guess if you're gonna foul, make sure those guys can't hit the broad side of a barn. They defend the three pretty well (TAKE NOTES MIZZOU) as they're 122nd in Def. 3PA/FGA and 89th in Def. 3PT%. They have a "deep" bench (deep in the sense that the bench plays a lot, not that they're necessarily talented) being 18th in Bench Minutes.

South Carolina's Season Since Last Time

  • Wins (Team Rank is from
    No. 39 Ole Miss (63-62)
    No. 70 Arkansas (73-54)
  • Losses
    at No. 1 Florida (36-75)
    at No. 25 Missouri (65-71)
    at No. 32 Kentucky (55-77)
    No. 58 Tennessee (61-66)
    at No. 73 Alabama (58-68)
    No. 105 LSU (46-64)
    No. 115 Georgia (56-67)
    at No. 115 Georgia (54-62, OT)

So they've beaten two teams we've lost two and according to the transitive property of sports we're gonna lose this game. Just kidding. Since we played them last they've only won two games, both at home. So they have that going for them.

South Carolina Player Stats
Since Last Time

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Michael Carrera (6'5, 212, Fr.) 13.1 0.58 22.6 MPG, 10.3 PPG (49% 2PT, 30% 3PT, 63% FT), 7.3 RPG, 1.7 TOPG, 2.8 PFPG
Lakeem Jackson (6'5, 235, Sr.) 8.6 0.32 27.4 MPG, 5.8 PPG (45% 2PT, 38% FT), 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.6 TOPG
Brian Richardson (6'4, 175, Jr.) 7.7 0.41 19.0 MPG, 8.0 PPG (44% 2PT, 37% 3PT, 71% FT), 1.7 RPG
Bruce Ellington (5'9, 197, Jr.) 6.5 0.19 34.8 MPG, 9.7 PPG (32% 2PT, 28% 3PT, 64% FT), 3.1 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.9 TOPG
Brenton Williams (5'11, 175, Jr.) 5.9 0.36 16.4 MPG, 6.2 PPG (36% 2PT, 36% 3PT, 1.8 RPG)
Eric Smith (5'11, 205, Jr.) 4.4 0.17 26.4 MPG, 6.0 PPG (38% 2PT, 33% 3PT, 56% FT), 1.8 APG, 1.4 RPG, 1.6 TOPG
R.J. Slawson (6'8, 220, Jr.) 3.7 0.22 16.9 MPG, 3.5 PPG (55% 2PT, 14% 3PT, 62% FT), 3.2 RPG, 3.4 PFPG
Mindaugas Kacinas (6'7, 210, Fr.) 2.6 0.22 11.8 MPG, 2.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG
Laimonas Chatkevicius (6'11, 255, Fr.) 3.8 0.22 17.1 MPG, 5.3 PPG (36% 2PT, 55% FT), 4.8 RPG, 1.6 TOPG, 2.6 PFPG
Damien Leonard (6'4, 190, So.) -0.5 -0.03 19.4 MPG, 2.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG

* 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%), Richardson (24%), Williams (24%)
  • Highest Floor%: Carrera (38%), Jackson (37%), Richardson (35%)
  • Highest %Pass: Smith (54%), Jackson (53%), Ellington (49%)
  • Highest %Shoot: Richardson (56%), Leonard (52%), Chatkevicius (51%)
  • Highest %Fouled: Chatkevicius (26%), Carrera (24%), Slawson (20%)
  • Highest %T/O: Chatkevicius (16%), Slawson (13%), Carrera (10%)
  • Michael Carrera is decent, but it's basically him then everyone else. Not much of a supporting cast, so it's hard to win games on the back of one decent player and the backs of a bunch of mediocre guys.
  • Turnovers, fouls, turnovers, fouls, missed shots, turnovers, fouls. C'mon Mizzou, don't let Murderball suck you into this kind of play.

Keys to the Game

  1. Dominate under the rim. The Gamecocks are very, very small and they foul a lot. We need our bigs to play BIG, and if we can out rebound them, draw fouls, and score in the paint, I like our chances here.
  2. Stop Carrera. South Carolina has been kind of a one man show lately, and if we can control that show, there won't be much else for Gamecock fans to get excited about. This kind of leads into my third Key to the Game, which is...
  3. DEFENSE. After that game against Kentucky, we all know what the narrative at practice has been. That was at times an awful defensive showing by our Tigers, and if we can get that figured out, we should be able to handle business on the road against a team that struggles mightily on offense.


It was a little too close for comfort last time, but we were battling the injury bug and trying to get ourselves back on track. I'm gonna say 68-60 Mizzou in this one, but with the combination of Frank Martin just knowing how to play us close and our apparent road struggles, anything could happen.