Akron (6-3) vs. South Carolina (3-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 25, 6:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Akron 4-0, USC 2-2. Away Record: Akron 1-2, USC 0-3. Neutral Record: Akron 1-1, USC 1-1. Conference Record: Akron 0-0, USC 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: A couple of teams hoping to finish up the 2013 edition of the Diamond Head Classic with a two victories get together at the Stan Sheriff Center on Christmas Day as the South Carolina Gamecocks match up with the Akron Zips.
Akron landed in Honolulu with a four-game win streak and opened more than a few eyes when the run was extended to five in a row thanks to an 83-71 win over Oregon State in the first round of the event on Sunday. However, the quick turnaround was not kind to the Zips as they fell hard against undefeated and 14th-ranked Iowa State on Monday, 83-60.
As for the Gamecocks, they came to Hawaii after losing three straight contests, two of those coming against Manhattan and USC Upstate. Not much was expected of South Carolina as they opened the tourney against undefeated Saint Mary's. However, USC pulled off a surprising 78-71 win over the Gaels. Unfortunately, the Gamecocks returned to the loss column a day later with an ugly 80-54 loss to Boise State.
In terms of the all-time series between the teams, this is the first-ever meeting.
Coming off an impressive offensive display the day before, the Zips managed to move out to an eight-point advantage against Iowa State in the first half of their meeting, but the thrill was short lived. In fact, Akron fell behind by six at the break and ended up with the 23-point loss to the Cyclones. Reggie McAdams scored a team-best 13 points, Quincy Diggs pitched in with 12 off the bench and Demetrius Treadwell tacked on 10 points and seven rebounds as the team shot only 37.5 percent from the floor and was outscored at the free-throw line, 14-1.
Akron is scoring 73.4 ppg as the team attempts an average of 22.3 shots per game from behind the 3-point line, almost 10 more per game than the opponent. Treadwell, the leading scorer for the Zips with 15.1 ppg, is not one to spend too much time on the perimeter where he is averaging just 0.3 3-point attempts per outing. Instead, Treadwell situates himself in the paint where he has pulled down 8.7 rpg, more than twice as many as Diggs (4.3 rpg) who is the only other double-digit scorer on the roster with 12.4 ppg.
South Carolina fell behind the Broncos from the opening tip and never recovered, shooting just 37.3 percent from the field and 4-of-16 behind the 3- point line in the meeting. The Gamecocks finished with a mere 19 made field goals, just one more than they had turnovers. Brenton Williams scored 14 points and Duane Notice 13, with only one other player making more than just two baskets. Defensively, USC allowed Boise State to convert 53.7 percent from the field.
Through nine games the Gamecocks are putting up 67.4 ppg, stemming from 41.7 percent shooting from the field and 66.8 percent at the free-throw line. The only double-digit scorers are Sindarius Thornwell and Tyrone Johnson with 12.1 and 11.7 ppg, respectively, and while they've combined to hand out 50 of the team's 111 assists, neither is shooting the ball all that well from the field. Thornwell displays just 36.7 percent accuracy, while Johnson checks in with 40.8 percent from the floor.
Both of these teams came up big in their first games of the event, but then they each were beaten up the very next day. Assuming head coach Frank Martin can motivate his players this time around, the Gamecocks will make a run at a positive outcome to the tournament.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Carolina 69, Akron 66
12/25 10:32:34 ET