One thing that stands out about this Gamecock team from Martin's previous seasons is the offensive numbers are way up. His teams have always been good on the defensive end, but this season the team is averaging 80 points per game with five players currently averaging double figure scoring. Those five players are all Seniors and Juniors, a rarity in the game in this day and age. Their non-conference schedule wasn't exactly stiff, but Carolina didn't play down to their competition either; however, because of their schedule, there are some (me) who still question how good this Carolina team truly is.
Sindarius Thornwell (Sr., 12.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.6 spg), Duane Notice (Jr., 11.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.9 apg, 43% from 3-pt), Michael Carrera (Sr., 11.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.0 spg, 51% from 3-pt), Mindaugas Kacinas (Sr., 11.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 56% FG) and Laimonas Chatkevicius (Sr., 10.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.1 bpg) are the veteran leaders for this team, but the team has also received valuable production from young players, PJ Dozier (7.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.4 spg), and Chris Silva (5.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.0 bpg).
This is a very difficult match-up for a team such as Alabama that has struggled to rebound. South Carolina's rebound margin is +10 coming into this game, while Alabama is -4. For Alabama to win this game, they must compete on the boards. Otherwise, this one could get ugly. On defense, our guys will be spread thin. Carolina has guys inside/outside who can all score. This is a balanced, steady team with veterans that don't get rattled. They could be the top team in the league when all is said and done. Alabama will have to play their A game to deliver Avery Johnson his first SEC win.