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North Carolina A&T at South Carolina Gamecocks - Game Preview

South Carolina is a lot better than North Carolina A&T.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina has at least 20 consecutive challenging games to play - a neutral site match-up against Iowa State, 18 SEC games, and at least one SEC tournament game.  The next 20 outings after tonight, the winner will be in doubt when the two teams tip the ball.

The winner is not in doubt tonight.  South Carolina is going to destroy North Carolina A&T.

The Four Factors (Pomeroy Rankings)
When USC has the ball (KP Rk.) When NC A&T has the ball (KP Rk.)
USC Off. NC A&T Def. Edge NC A&T Off. USC Def. Edge
161 251 USC eFG% 327 9 USC Big
149 219 USC TO% 344 49 USC Big
55 314 USC Big OReb% 126 79 USC
214 317 USC FTR 296 197 USC

Shooting (percentages)
When USC has the ball When NCA&T has the ball (KP Rk.)
USC Off. NC A&T Def. NC A&T Off. USC Def. NCAA Avg.
72.2% - FT% 62.5% - 68.4%
50.7% 49.3% 2P% 45.1% 37.3% 47.5%
29.7% - 3P% 25.2% - 33.7%
30% 38.3% 3PA% 36% 41.4% 34.1%

I know we should all pretend like these games are important, and that Things Could Happen.  But not all games are created equally, and some games aren't in doubt.  This is one of those games.

The Aggies are porous on both sides of the ball, but this game should be particularly brutal when they try to score, as South Carolina doesn't allow teams to hit 2s against them, forces turnovers, and controls the defensive glass.  North Carolina A&T struggles mightily at the first two aspects, and they aren't good enough at offensive rebounding to change the game.  They also can't take advantage of USC's only real weakness - defensive fouls.  It'll be a bloodbath on that end of the court.

The Aggies have two wins on the year, both at home against non-Division I opposition.  In their other 12 games, they're 0-12, though they've kept many of those games close.  The problem for the Aggies is that, against the two teams they've played that really have a pulse, they have yet to keep within 30 points of their opponents (Ohio State and Old Dominion).  It's one thing to hang around with Kent State, but quite another to do so against a really strong opponent.

For the Gamecocks, tonight is a chance to solidify their rotation, get Michael Carrera re-integrated into the offense, and have a little fun in front of the home crowd.  There's not much analysis required - North Carolina A&T is a very bad basketball team, and South Carolina is going to beat them soundly.

Then, the real season begins.

Tip: 7pm

TV: SEC Network+