Location: Columbia, SC
Last Year’s Record: 21-10
Why they’ll make it: With seven players returning, who started multiple games last season, the Gamecocks will have plenty of quality depth this season. Led by first-team all-conference guard, Devan Downey, and solid frontcourt contributor, Dominique Archie, the Gamecocks should improve on their NIT appearance from last season. The two seniors were key members of last-year’s team which was on the cusp of a Big Dance berth last season. With the aforementioned depth around them, and their outstanding talent, expect the two top seniors to lead South Carolina to the NCAA tournament.
Why they won’t make it: Shooting less than 64%, the Gamecocks were one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the SEC. At first glance, the talent and the overall numbers from last season don’t indicate that this is a team that shouldn’t have been in the NCAA tournament . However, its easy to see how the Gamecocks shot themselves in the foot from the free-throw line. Overall, they took six more shots from the charity stripe than their opponents and and made 46 less. No amount of talent on the college level is going to help you overcome that.