Frank Martin finally has things going his way at South Carolina. After several average years in Columbia, the Miami-native has his team ranked 24th in the country and could match last year’s win total of 17 with a win tonight in Oxford. It won’t be easy, however, with the SEC’s leading scorer Stefan Moody waiting in Tad Smith Coliseum where the Rebels have only lost once all year.
Martin does have many weapons at his disposal with five players averaging double figures per night, contributing to what is the fifth best scoring offense in the conference (78.5 PPG). They don’t shoot lights out most nights, but what separates them from other teams is their defense. South Carolina ranks 19th in the country in opponent’s field goal percentage (.386). A great defense creates a good offense is the exact philosophy Martin wants instilled in his team.
As far as Ole Miss, anybody with a scouting report can see that Stefan Moody is an elite scorer. As soon as he passes the half-court line, he is a threat anywhere the floor. Yet, a player forgotten in the mix for the Rebels is forward Sebastian Saiz. The junior from Spain is averaging just under a double-double with 12.8 points and 9.8 rebounds. He would be leading the SEC in rebounds if it weren’t for a player named Ben Simmons (12.9).
Outside of Moody and Saiz, Ole Miss doesn’t have a consistent performer. They have only lost two non-conference games but have dropped three SEC games. In those three losses, the Rebels allowed at least 80 points. Although they have the conference’s leading scorer, their defense is suspect.
Tip off is set for 7:00 p.m. tonight. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.