Feast Week is in full effect as we head into the weekend, and one of the last games of the night for Friday’s loaded slate features Depaul taking on South Carolina in the Arizona Tip-Off at 11:30 PM EST. The Blue Demons have already dropped two games to mid-major opponents, so with a power five opponent matching up with them tonight, I think they could be starting Feast Week on a bad note.
South Carolina drew a lot of attention last season, with star freshman GG Jackson leading the charge. With Jackson now in the NBA, that hasn’t stopped the Gamecocks from getting off to a solid start to the season. Entering tonight’s tip-off event, the Gamecocks are 3-0 overall and ranked 63rd in adjusted efficiency margin on KenPom.
Jackson was the focal point of the South Carolina offense last season, but through the first few games, it looks as if the Gamecocks will be led on offense by a pair of transfers, in B.J. Mack and Myles Stute. Mack is leading the team with 16.3 points and is shooting 38.5% from three, which has helped the Gamecocks rank 12th in the country in three-point percentage at 43.9%.
A big question with the Gamecocks this season is going to be their defense. The Gamecocks ranked 308th in the country in opponent effective field goal percentage last season, and in their lone game against a power five opponent this season, they finished the game with a 122.2 defensive efficiency, per EvanMiya. The good news for the Gamecocks is they’ll be taking on a Depaul team tonight that is 178th in adjusted offensive rating on KenPom.
Through three games against mid-major opponents, the Blue Demons rank 174th in points per game and 97th in effective field goal percentage. Depaul’s rotation is also very transfer-heavy, and so far, Wyoming transfer Jeremiah Oden has been the most consistent, averaging 14 points per game on 41.4% from the field.
Aside from their lack of offense early on, the Blue Demons are also a team with a lot of concerns on the defensive end. On KenPom, they rank 149th in adjusted defensive rating, as they are allowing an average of 73 points per game.
South Carolina is currently favored by (-4.5), and at that number, I have a reason to stay up late to watch this game, as I’ll be backing them for my play. The Gamecocks offense has a significant opportunity to light up the scoreboard tonight against the Blue Demons' defense.
The Gamecocks are 56th in adjusted offensive rating on KenPom, and in their lone game against a power five opponent, they finished with a 127.4 offensive efficiency. Now they get to play a Depaul defense that is 235th in opponent three-point percentage and 89th in effective field goal percentage.
Depaul just does not have the offensive capabilities to withstand their lack of defense. Shooting-wise, the Blue Demons are 134th in true shooting percentage, and they are essentially being limited to just one shot per possession since they are 304th in offensive rebounding percentage. There is no telling if the Blue Demons will improve as their roster plays together more, but for right now, they do not have the ability to compete with a power-five opponent.
South Carolina Gamecocks (-4.5)