This past Friday, South Carolina lost 80-82 in overtime to Bobby Cremins's College of Charleston. Earlier tonight, we routed Princeton 84-58. Both games were on the road. Even in the loss to COC, we continued to play well offensively, shooting 50% from the field and over 60% from beyond the arc. What killed us in this game was 19 turnovers, sending the Cougars to the line 23 times, and letting the Cougars get 13 offensive rebounds. Our performance against Princeton was roundly dominant. We again made over half our shots. This time, though, we played much better defense, holding the Tigers to only 58 and this time keeping them off the offensive boards.
The Princeton win doesn't mean a whole lot. It's nice to go on the road and get a blowout win, but we possess a serious advantage over the Tigers in terms of athleticism and talent. Anything less than a convincing win would have been a cause for concern. On the other hand, the loss to COC, our first of the season, was disappointing. However, while the Cougars are a mid-major, they're a pretty good one and they play for an excellent coach. Moreover, this game was on the road in front of a crowd that was rabid to see their team take us down. For these reasons, I stated in my pre-season preview that this would be a tough OOC game for us, and it was. I also stated that I thought we would be sitting OK if we could get into SEC play with only two OOC losses. That still appears to be a reasonable goal, as only Clemson and Baylor appear to be legitimate remaining OOC threats. If we can split those two games, we'll be sitting pretty. I think we can do that; although we still have some of the same problems as last year, we do seem to be playing a little bit better overall.