Nothin' But Rhett: Basketball Analysis

Nothin' But Rhett is's weekly column by former USC basketball player Joe Rhett, where he will share his expert insight and analysis on the Gamecock basketball team. Read inside for Rhett's fifth column, as he analyzes USC's games from the past week and previews the Gamecocks' game at Alabama on Saturday.

In Gainesville, Florida the Gamecocks came up short after a dominant final two minutes by Devan Downey. For the first time, I felt we stayed in full court pressure a little too long. We should have pulled back into a half-court man-to-man defense, as the Gators were picking us apart and getting too many easy baskets out of our pressure. Quite simply we didn't adjust, we didn't wear them down like we do other teams without a true point guard, and its very difficult to beat any SEC opponent shooting less than fifty percent from the free throw line.

The Georgia game was the complete opposite. From the jump they couldn't handle our pressure, and from the onset we had a comfortable lead. Halfway through the first half Georgia tried a half-court 1-3-1 trapping defense that actually worked and slowed us down, but when the Bulldogs had the opportunity to score they couldn't capitalize on our mistakes.

Our veteran guards didn't have the best shooting night of their career, but their ability to get into the paint and create opportunities for the likes of Mike Holmes and Sam Muldrow gave the Gamecocks one of their best assist games of the year. After really watching Sam Muldrow play, I used to think this guy is really lucky being in the right spot all the time. After the Georgia game, I realize he has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time, meaning when Devan or Zam penetrates he knows how to slide behind his defenders when they step up to stop the guards. Also, you definitely have to put a body on him on the offensive glass, as he's been coming up with some big offensive boards, and to my surprise finishing around the basket. What I really like about him is he's not trying to do things he can't do like forcing shots.

Carolina has arguably played the 4 toughest SEC opponents on the road already this year (LSU, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida). Now looking ahead at the remaining schedule, it looks favorable for us to get an NCAA bid this year. We have to continue playing well at home and grab a couple wins on the road. With our guards' ability to play with anybody in the country and our four guys inside having definitely exceeded any of our expectations, it's not too assuming to think we can possibly win the Eastern side of the SEC.

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