South Carolina entered the tournament as one of the best defensive teams in the field. It’s no surprise the Gamecocks defense ignited their run to the program’s first Final Four.
Let’s take a look at the some defensive numbers from South Carolina during the NCAA Tournament.
17: The Gamecocks have forced 17 turnovers per game through their first four games of the tournament. After causing Marquette and Duke to cough it up 18 times a piece, South Carolina followed that up with back to back games of forcing 16 turnovers against both Baylor and Florida. Throughout the tournament, opposing offense have looked extremely uncomfortable and out of sync, which is indicative by the turnover numbers. Ironically, this number doesn’t even match South Carolina’s regular season average of 17.3, which ranked second nationally.
12.3: Average turnovers per game by South Carolina opponents during the regular reason. Duke (11.4), Florida (12.0) and Marquette (12.4) all ranked in the Top 100 in the NCAA.
39: South Carolina’s four opponents combined to score 39 points less than their regular season average. This number is highlighted by the 70-50 victory over Baylor, in which the Bears fell 22 points below their average. Marquette entered the tournament scoring around 82 points a game before the opening round 93-73
40%: Opponents have combined to shoot only 40 percent against South Carolina during the tournament. After Marquette made 46.3 percent of its shots in the opening round, the following three teams shot 41.3 percent (Duke), 30.4 percent (Baylor) and 41.7 percent (Florida). During the regular season, each of the three teams listed shot 45 percent or better.
54: In the second half, South Carolina has outscored its four opponents by a total of 54 points. While this isn’t necessarily a defensive stat, it was the Gamecocks defense that allowed them to outscore Marquette 54-33 in the final 20 minutes. It was the defense that allowed South Carolina to score 65 in the second half of comeback victory over Duke, despite also giving up 51. It was the defensive adjustments that led to the come from behind Elite Eight win over Florida as South Carolina outscored the Gators 44-30 in the final 20.
9-of-39: During the opening weekend, South Carolina allowed both Marquette and Duke to make double digit three pointers. This stat served as the lone weakness of the Gamecocks defense during the first two games. Who knows what adjustments Frank Martin made to limit the damage from behind the arc, but Baylor and Florida combined to make only nine of 39 attempts. This comes out to a 23 percent rate. In the win over the Gators, Florida knocked down seven threes in the first half. During the final 20 minutes, South Carolina held the Gators to 0-of-14 from distance, a big factor towards the Gamecocks comeback efforts.
Edited by David Bradford
Featured image obtained via creativecommons.org