Tennessee-South Carolina four-factors preview

Here’s a look at the four factors numbers for Tennessee’s game tomorrow against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The conclusions are upfront, just after each team’s baseline, and the details follow:

Baseline

First up, here’s what each team is doing at this point in the season:

Basically even, but Tennessee is shooting better from three.

Summary and Score Prediction

The weatherman isn’t always right, and although Tuesday night’s forecast of ugly shooting percentages never happened, we’re doubling down on that this weekend. The Vols have to correct their turnover issues as they are literally giving games away, but improving that this weekend may be difficult. The game may be won at the foul line.

The goals for the Vols:

  1. Whatever they did to shoot well despite playing a good defense at Missouri Tuesday, do that again. If they can get above 50% from two and 45% from three again, awesome. But even their averages of 43% and 33% would be good against a good defensive team.
  2. It will be difficult against a defensively active team like South Carolina, but the Vols have to protect the ball better. Aim for 12 or fewer turnovers.
  3. Win an apparently even rebounding matchup.
  4. Make the most of an advantage at getting to the foul line themselves while playing aggressive defense on the other end without fouling. The goal here is to get to 20 attempts while keeping South Carolina to under 20.

KenPom gives Tennessee an 81% chance of winning and puts the score at Tennessee 71, South Carolina 62.

My prediction: Tennessee 73, South Carolina 67.

Four Factors: Straight-Up

Effective FG%

Conclusion: Tennessee is a better-shooting team overall. Among prior Vols’ opponents, South Carolina is most like Jacksonville State and Florida A&M in that department. We scored 75 and 72 against those teams.

Turnover %

Conclusion: These guys protect the ball much better than the Vols do. They do it as well as VCU and LSU.

Offensive Rebound %

Conclusion: Again, South Carolina is much better at grabbing offensive rebounds than are the Vols. Best comps are Memphis and Florida State.

Free Throw Rate

Conclusion: Tennessee and South Carolina are pretty comparable when it comes to Free Throw Rate.

Four Factors: Opponent impact

Effective FG%

When Tennessee has the ball

Tennessee’s eFG% is 49.3 (No. 178), and it will be going up against a defense that is 45.2 (No. 46).

When South Carolina has the ball

The Gamecocks’ eFG% is 47.5 (No. 241), while Tennessee’s shooting defense is 44.5 (No. 31).

Conclusions

Both defenses are equipped to make things difficult for the opposing offenses. We said this about that last game against Missouri, though, and it didn’t seem to bother the Vols, so we’ll see. I’d still expect to see both offenses struggle a bit more than usual.

Turnover %

When Tennessee has the ball

Tennessee has a turnover % of 20.9 (No. 257), while the Gamecocks’ defensive counterpart to this stat is 21.9 (No. 63). They Vols are always going to be outmatched in this category until they earn some dramatic improvement.

When South Carolina has the ball

South Carolina’s turnover % is 19.1 (No. 149), while’s Tennessee’s ability to force turnovers is 20 (No. 142).

Conclusions

I’d expect the Vols to be focusing on correcting their turnovers problem, but I wouldn’t expect too much noticeable improvement tomorrow against the Gamecocks.

Offensive Rebounding %

When Tennessee has the ball

Tennessee’s OR% is 30 (No. 114). South Carolina’s defense in that category is 28.1 (No. 163).

When South Carolina has the ball

The Gamecocks’ OR% is 32.6 (No. 61), while the Vols’ defense in that category is 25.4 (No. 73).

Conclusions

This appears to be an evenly-matched game from a rebounding perspective.

Free Throw Rate

When Tennessee has the ball

Tennessee’s FT Rate is 33.8 (No. 133), while South Carolina’s defense against that is 46.6 (No. 344).

When South Carolina has the ball

The Gamecocks’ FT Rate is 34.2 (No. 119), while Tennessee’s defense against that is 26.2 (No. 61).

Conclusions

It appears that the Vols should be able to both get to the foul line more often than usual and keep South Carolina from getting there as often as it usually does.

Go Vols.

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