There’s a lot of excitement about USC being back in the NCAA Tournament. People around Gamecock Nation are giddy. Well, sorry, but there is about to be some cold water thrown on them. We’ve got to keep it real and with that in mind, here are three reasons why Gamecock fans will be sad for a 45th consecutive year following the NCAA Tournament.
1) This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with a whimper….
The Gamecocks are broken. There is no fight left in them. The 4OT loss to Alabama knocked the socks of this team and they are still furiously searching around their dorms for them. Since the Alabama game USC has managed only three wins, two of which were against a struggling Mississippi State team. The Gamecocks have nothing left in the tank to justify a win against Marquette and have only beaten a quality opponent once in the last two months. Barring a close 77-75 win over Georgia, USC has not beaten a team with an RPI better than Marquette since January 18 when they beat Florida.
2) How do you defend the three again?
Marquette knows how to shoot from downtown. The Golden Eagles converted the fifth most three point shots per game in the NCAA this season at 10.5 three pointers a game. For the Gamecocks this means that no lead is safe, especially since defending the three has been a recent liability.
Frank Martin’s defense used to thwart away 3-pointers like a Miss America Model would toss aside the nerds in high school. Once upon a time the Gamecocks even held the Florida Gators to 0-17 from distance…but that dream has faded. Since the 4OT loss to Alabama the Gamecocks allowed opposing teams to shoot 35.4 percent on them, which include four games where they allowed the opposing team to shoot over 40 percent from beyond the arc.
If the Gamecock can’t right their defensive lapses from deep, they will return home early and empty handed.
3) Depth Charges
Depth matters in the playoffs and unfortunately that doesn’t bode well for the Gamecocks offense. The best player in the SEC, Sindarious Thornwell, accounted for over 24 percent of USC’s total offense this year. Meaning Marquette can significantly wreck the Gamecock’s ability to score stunting Thornwell’s production with simple double teams.
With that line of thinking in mind USC will find it difficult to crack the even keeled Marquette offense. Four players scored more than 340 points for the Golden Eagles this year, a feat that only two Gamecock players managed to accomplish.
If you need a pick me up after this you can check out 3 reasons USC will BEAT Marquette here.
JarMart picked Marquette to usurp the Gamecocks in round 1 of the NCAA Tournament. He felt it was necessary to justify his position. Have a problem with that? Let him know @JaredRog on Twitter