Dec 17, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Frank Martin directs his team against the Manhattan Jaspers in the second half at The Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
The Iowa State men’s basketball team will be playing in Honolulu next week, and to get prepared we will profile all seven opponents with six quick hits and a full preview of their quarterfinal against George Mason.
On the other side of the bracket, the Cyclones could face a familiar coach that is struggling to make his team a contender in the SEC or a team that mimics their offensive attack.
South Carolina Gamecocks
- Record: 2-4
- Preseason SEC ranking: 12th
- RPI: 106th
- SOS: 9th
- Head coach: Frank Martin
- 67.8 points per game (279th nationally)
- 41.8 field goal percentage (288th nationally)
- Both PPG and FG% is dead last in SEC.
- Allow just 40.5 field goal percentage (79th nationally).
It hasn’t been a good start for Frank Martin’s Gamecocks, who come in as the second-youngest team in the SEC behind the always-reloading Kentucky. There are seven freshmen and four sophomores on the roster. One of those freshmen that have made an immediate impact is guard Sindarius Thornwell, who has scored the most points on the team and averages 12.7 points per game.
In the frontcourt, freshman forward Mindaugas Kacinas is the most efficient shooter on the field (compared to players attempting 32 or more baskets per game) but needs to get to the foul line more often. He’s just 9 of 16 from the free-throw line all season.
This is basically your typical Frank-coached team, tough defense like at Kansas State minus the scoring ability. It’s been a rough start, but it could also be due to their demanding early schedule against Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Clemson. They’ll have a tune-up against USC-Upstate before heading to Honolulu.
Mar 20, 2013; Dayton, OH, USA; Boise State Broncos guard Jeff Elorriaga (11) shoots against the La Salle Explorers in the first half during the first round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at University of Dayton Arena. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
Boise State Broncos
- Record: 8-2
- Preseason MWC ranking: T-2nd (with UNLV)
- RPI: 54th
- SOS: 82nd
- Head coach: Leon Rice
- 86.4 points per game (14th nationally)
- 12 assists per game (239th nationally)
- Grab 36.8 rebounds per game (143rd nationally).
- Give up 30.7 rebounds per game (26th nationally).
The Broncos could be the most overlooked team in the field, and they’ll have everything to gain on a national stage. Iowa State fans would love their up-tempo offense with their high-scoring rate and similar success from the perimeter; they fire at a 39.5 percent clip compared to the Cyclones’ 37.3 percent and have fired up just 17 less attempts.
A major difference between BSU and ISU is moving the ball; the Cyclones average six more assists per game, which is best in the nation compared to the Broncos listed 239 spots down the list.
One player that will need to be watched from the perimeter is senior guard Jeff Elorriaga, who’s made an electric 33 of 55 3-point shots. Two other players that have caused fouling havoc for their opponents are Derric Marks and Anthony Drmic; both junior guards are a combined 96 of 124 from the free-throw line.
They’ve already taken on St. Mary’s this season, losing 82-74 back on December 14th. They could have a rematch in the semifinals with both teams being favored against their quarterfinal opponent.