Show Me My Opponent: South Carolina (#2)

HOW TENNESSEE BEATS IT

The gameplan was right last time; just hit shots

Last time out, this was an ugly, ugly experience. Tennessee posted their worst-ever offensive efficiency in a winning effort, and live, it was as gross as you’d imagine. I think I tweeted that “this is why people hate college basketball” mostly out of frustration but it felt accurate. Tennessee missed so, so many open looks, and while I’d like for them to take those exact same shots again, it will be twice as frustrating if they still don’t go down.

The good thing is that Tennessee was pretty dominant against South Carolina defensively. Holding the Gamecocks to 0.755 PPP is a great showing, and while Tennessee didn’t do so well on the defensive boards, they forced plenty of turnovers and generally made life tough on South Carolina.

That’s all you can realistically ask for on a night where every single shot from the field (though, as usual, the free throws were great) is rimming out for whatever reason.

Scoring at the rim comes highly recommended

As mentioned in the South Carolina defensive preview, the Gamecocks don’t give up a ton of rim attempts and they block a lot of shots if you take them. Still, opponents have had plenty of success on the unblocked looks. I’d like to see some creative actions that get players to the rim, whether that’s some sort of basket cut or using an on-ball screen to create room to get there.

I don’t anticipate Tennessee taking a ton of shots at the rim, necessarily, but they should go there if for no other reason than to get fouled.

Other shots: good!

In terms of other shots, I know Tennessee will take their share of non-rim twos; I’d just prefer they be the smart ones. I like the Pons and Fulkerson post-up jumpers.If Josiah-Jordan James is back, you can let him shoot too. Jordan Bowden, hey, looks like you’re working your way out of the slump! I like it.

There are four guys that shoots threes that don’t make me inwardly cringe right now: Santiago Vescovi, Josiah-Jordan James, Yves Pons, and Jalen Johnson.

Everyone else…well, prove me wrong, man.

I’m already bored doing this defensive section

Defensively, this just isn’t very exciting.

We know the drill: force South Carolina into a bunch of crappy dribble jumpers and win the game running away.

Also, protect the boards better than you did last time. There’s no reason to let the Gamecocks win this simply by way of Shot Volume domination.

NEXT PAGE: Lineup notes, key matchups, prediction

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