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Gamecocks return home to face Georgia

South Carolina tries to make it three-in-a-row in the Colonial Life Arena as it hosts a Georgia team with a very surprising

Duane Notice heads to the rim against Arkansas.
Duane Notice heads to the rim against Arkansas.
Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina returns home to face the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon, trying to rebound after a tough loss in Fayetteville after stringing together back-to-back victories over Alabama (67-66) and Vanderbilt (65-59).  Carolina will try to win their third consecutive game in the Colonial Life Arena while also avenging a 21-point loss to the Bulldogs earlier this season.

The Four Factors (Pomeroy Rankings)
When USC has the ball When UGA has the ball
USC Off. UGA Def. Edge UGA Off. USC Def. Edge
246 56 UGA Big eFG% 233 171 Push
324 315 Push TO% 263 54 USC Big
12 112 USC Big OReb% 37 285 UGA Big
60 239 USC Big FTR 11 343 UGA Big
Shooting (percentages)
When USC has the ball When UGA has the ball
USC Off. UGA Def. UGA Off. USC Def. NCAA Avg.
69.8% - FT% 67.3% - 69.8%
45% 43.9% 2P% 47.3% 50.4% 48.5%
37.2% - 3P% 33.8% - 34.5%
27% 34.6% 3PA% 25.9% 34.9% 32.8%

The Bulldogs excel by getting to the free throw line, led by Charles Mann, who has taken 203 free throws this season to go with his 203 field goal attempts.  The rest of the Georgia starters also find their way to the stripe regularly, which is why the Bulldogs have scored over 30% of their points in SEC play from the line.  Given Carolina's weakness in sending teams to the stripe - and the 50 free throws the Gamecocks conceded to the Bulldogs in Athens - a huge concern is whether South Carolina can keep Georgia from dominating the game from the charity stripe.

The Gamecocks' best chance likely comes through keeping Georgia from shooting or getting fouled in the first place.  Georgia turns the ball over on almost 1 of every 5 possessions, about the same clip at which Carolina forces turnovers.  If the Gamecocks can limit the possessions that Georgia gets shots off, it should be able to limit their offensive success.

For South Carolina, the offensive keys against Georgia center around the regular issues of avoiding turnovers while pressing their typical advantage in offensive rebounds and free throws.  Georgia readily concedes the latter advantages and does a very poor job of forcing turnovers, so this seems like the type of game where the Gamecocks can score points if it runs its regular offense.  In fact, even in its 97-76 drubbing earlier this year in Athens, the Gamecocks scored over one point per possession (1.047).  Given it posted a poor offensive rebounding percentage (23.5%) in that game, reverting to its season average should allow South Carolina to post the type of offense that normally wins SEC games.  The question is whether the defense can rise to the occasion.

While no point spreads have been posted as of yet, Ken Pomeroy favors the Gamecocks by 3 points at home to knock off the 3rd place Bulldogs.  The game tips off at 1:45pm on SECTV.