The No. 5 ranked Auburn Tigers host the South Carolina Gamecocks in the last game of the regular season on Saturday.
- The game is Saturday, March 5, at 1 p.m.
- The Gamecocks have won three of their last four games and are 18-11 on the season. They have a losing record when playing away (4-6)
- The Tigers are undefeated at home this season and have won their only other game against South Carolina this season (81-66).
- Auburn is averaging 79.2 points and 14.6 assists per game this season.
- South Carolina is averaging 71.6 points and 14 assists per game this season.
This season, the Tigers have dominated the SEC because of their aggressive and holistic play. Every player compliments the next with how they play. The Tigers are the perfect example of a team with excellent chemistry amongst its roster’s playstyle.
Jabari Smith, forward and leading scorer for the Tigers, has been instrumental to the team’s success. Smith is the poster boy for a player that excels in every situation he’s found himself in, whether on defense, offense, or being that floor general his team needs. He has found himself with one of the most impressive cumulative stats for a season I’ve seen. Smith is averaging 16.9 points per game has 29 blocks, 54 assists and 34 steals on the season with a total of 508 points.
Other key players such as guard Wendell Green Jr. and forward Walker Kessler have been crucial to the team’s transition and paint defense. Green is the assist leader for the Tigers with 151 assists on the season and is a natural playmaker averaging 12.1 points a game this season. Kessler has been a monster in the paint for the Tigers this season. He has 138 blocks while averaging 11.6 points a game this season and has been a massive contributor to his team’s defense and rebounding.
The Gamecocks are a solid and competitive SEC team that has proven they can compete with the best on more occasions than one this season. The Gamecocks will have to stay focused and avoid careless turnovers to the Tigers that can lead to easy buckets.
Jermaine Couisnard, guard for South Carolina, will be vital to the team’s game plan. Averaging 11.8 points and 1.1 steal a game, Couisnard is a great shooter from three and even better inside the arc, averaging 41 percent from the field. Another vital part of the team’s offense is guard Erik Stevenson, the leading scorer for the Gamecocks with 304 points. Stevenson also has a real defensive presence with ten blocks and 29 steals this season.
Defense wins games, which will be the deciding factor in this match-up for the Gamecocks. The squad has six players with 20 or more steals on the season, and that kind of obstructive and lockdown defense is what will keep the Tigers at bay. Transition defense, proper switching on screens, and watching off-ball movement are the key to South Carolina coming out with a win.