By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
The Cats have completed half of their 31-game regular season schedule with a 12-3 record and a 3-0 start in the SEC. The next challenge for the Cats will take the form of a two game SEC road swing, first at South Carolina tonight and then at Arkansas on Saturday.
The formula for winning conference championships is to hold serve in the nine home games and win a majority of the nine conference road games. To stay on pace with this formula, the Cats need at least one win from this two-game road trip, and frankly a pair of wins would go a long way toward another SEC regular season title in 2020.
South Carolina enters this game with an 8-7 record, 0-2 in the SEC. After a 8-4 start that ended with back to back road wins at #80 Clemson by 13 and at #19 Virginia by 11, the Gamecocks have lost their last three games.
South Carolina’s most impressive wins this season have been over Clemson with a game ANE of 0.36 ppp and over Virginia with a game ANE of 0.48 ppp. Among South Carolina’s seven losses, the most inexplicable loss came at home against #305 Stetson by seven with a game ANE of -0.31 ppp.
South Carolina’s current ANE is an impressive 0.057 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.013 ppp and a tempo of 71.0 possessions per game.
The Cats bring an ANE of 0.199 ppp into this game having played a schedule strength of 0.028 ppp at a tempo of 69.5 possessions per game.
Based on this data for these teams, an ANE analysis indicates this game will have a tempo of 70 possessions with the Cats winning by six points, 71-65.