- Both South Carolina and Clemson have struggled this season
- Clemson is a good defensive team, while South Carolina struggles from beyond the arc
- Get the odds, our pick, and all the info you need to bet the game below
The South Carolina Gamecocks (6-4) travel across the state on Sunday afternoon for their annual battle with the hated Clemson Tigers (5-4). The Tigers opened as 5.5-point favorites.
South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Clemson Tigers Odds
|South Carolina||+ 5.5 (-110)||N/A||O 138 (-110)|
|Clemson Tigers||-5.5 (-110)||N/A||U 138 (-110)|
The Gamecocks in 2019
It’s been a bit of an up-and-down campaign for the Gamecocks and head coach Frank Martin thus far this season. USC began the year 3-0, before losing to Boston University at home. South Carolina would defeat Gardner-Webb before losing the next against Wichita State and Northern Iowa. The Gamecocks won two more before dropping their last game against Houston at home.
Frank Martin: "We have a lot of growing up to do." https://t.co/IaWyNjQIfq
— GamecockCentral.com (@GamecockCentral) December 8, 2019
The Tigers in 2019
Clemson is facing a critical season under head coach Brad Brownell. The Tigers began the season with an ACC home game against Virginia Tech. They lost. However, they won their next five games but have dropped their last three. Clemson has faced solid competition in all four of its losses this season, losing to ranked Colorado and Florida State last time out. The Seminoles defeated Clemson by 19 after connecting on 15 three-pointers.
According to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, he has South Carolina ranked No. 108 overall. Pomeroy has the Gamecocks as playing one of the worst schedules in college basketball thus far, yet they’ve lost four games. USC’s opponents are ranked No. 325 in offensive efficiency and No. 239 in defensive efficiency. This makes South Carolina’s uneven start even more puzzling.
Clemson is ranked No. 90 in KenPom’s ratings. The Tigers are a solid offensive team, ranking No. 128 in offensive efficiency. However, the Tigers rank 66th in defensive efficiency. One hole in that good defense, however is a 273rd ranking in three-point field goal defense. The Gamecocks may not be able to take advantage, though, as they are one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country at a clip of 27%.
South Carolina is led by 6’6″ sophomore guard A.J. Lawson. After averaging 13 points per game as a freshman last season, Lawson is checking in with almost 16 points per contest this year. Maik Kotsar, a 6’11” senior from Estonia, averages 10 points and six rebounds per contest. He leads the team in rebounds, blocks, and steals.
For the Tigers, they are led by senior guard Tevin Mack. The 6’6″ senior averages almost 14 points and five rebounds per game. He and Lawson should be an exciting matchup. Aamir Simms is an underrated big man who averages 11 points and eight rebounds per contest.
Tevin Mack into double-figures after that triple – his 8th in nine games this season pic.twitter.com/0nOxX7Ar5J
— Clemson Basketball (@ClemsonMBB) December 8, 2019
Against the Spread
The Gamecocks are 4-6 against the spread this season. They’ve been favored in eight of 10 games. In six of their wins, they’ve covered four times. USC has been the underdog two times this season and both times the Gamecocks lost by 20 or more.
The Tigers were favored in their first five games this season. They lost to Virginia Tech in the opener, then covered in their next five games, including a two-point win over TCU when they were two-point underdogs. Clemson is 4-1 at home.
Both teams need to start stacking up wins to boost their tournament resume. But there is more to this game than just tourney positioning. These are the top schools in the state of South Carolina and they don’t like one another. Clemson has won the previous three meetings.
Trust Clemson’s defense here. South Carolina struggles as a team from beyond the arc and that is Clemson’s biggest defensive weakness. Take the Tigers at home here to cover the spread.
Pick: Clemson -5.5 (-110)
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