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Men’s Basketball Preview: South Carolina vs. Eastern Michigan

Back to back?

NCAA Basketball: Western Kentucky at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina vs. Eastern Michigan
Date: Friday, December 30th
Time: 7:00 PM
Channel: ESPN+
Location: Colonial Life Arena - Columbia, SC

South Carolina is looking to pick up a second straight win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles. This would extend the Gamecocks’ home winning streak to 6-0 on the season.

Eastern Michigan is ranked 300th in KenPom’s latest advanced metric ratings, which is the lowest of any opponent the Gamecocks have faced this season. The Eagles are only 3-9 so far on the season, with wins over Wayne State, FIU, and Detroit Mercy.

The Eagles are led by Emoni Bates, who is putting up a solid 19 points per game on 44% shooting from the field. The Memphis transfer and former five-star recruit is also leading the team in rebounds per game with 5.7.

Noah Farrakhan, the sophomore East Carolina transfer, is averaging 13 points per game, but can get a little sloppy. Farrakhan is shooting below 40% from the field on the season as well as putting up close to 3 turnovers a game, with a team high of 2.7 turnovers per contest.

The key to this game for the Gamecocks will be limiting the turnover. South Carolina is averaging a high 13 turnovers per game, but were able to hold it to only 10 against Western Kentucky (which is still considerably high), which played a key factor in the victory. The only other times the Gamecocks have had 10 turnovers or less were wins against Georgetown and Presbyterian.

GG Jackson will have to have an improved offensive night as well as continuing to be dominant on the boards. Jackson snatched 16 rebounds last time out vs. Western Kentucky, and while he probably will not have that type of rebounding night again, he will still need to make his presence felt down low. He is averaging a team high 7.4 rebounds a game.

Defensively, the Gamecocks will have to keep the same level of intensity that they had against Western Kentucky. Especially Hayden Brown, who was everywhere on defense, including drawing two charges.

KenPom is giving the Gamecocks a 80% chance to defeat Eastern Michigan with a score prediction of South Carolina 75, Eastern Michigan 66.

My Prediction: South Carolina 74, Eastern Michigan 68