South Carolina Men's Basketball 2016 NIT Tournament Capsule

South Carolina Gamecocks
SEC (24-8, 11-7)
South Carolina got off to a great 15-0 start. The schedule may not have been the most difficult, but they beat Tulsa, Clemson and Memphis in that stretch and then picked up SEC victories at Auburn and against Vanderbilt as well. Since that 15-0 start, the Gamecocks have come back down to Earth. There have still been quality wins though, most notably on the road against Ole Miss and Texas A&M and at home to LSU. This is a strong group that Coach Frank Martin has assembled and it seems like they are underappreciated every step of the way. To gain that respect, they will have to get the job done in March.
Big Wins: 1/9 Vanderbilt (69-65), 2/6 at Texas A&M (81-78), 2/20 Florida (73-69)
Bad Losses: 1/23 at Tennessee (69-78), 1/16 at Missouri (67-72), 2/27 at Mississippi State (58-68)
Coach: Frank Martin
Why They Can Surprise:
A strong interior presence has been the difference for the Gamecocks. They hit the glass hard and effectively and make it very difficult for the opposition to get easy looks. Senior forwards Mindaugas Kacinas and Laimonas Chatkevicius are both having great years. Kacinas, at 6-7 and 227 pounds, has boosted his production to 10.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Chatkevicius is the bigger presence in the paint, standing 6-11 and tilting the scales at 251 pounds. He is a huge asset for Coach Martin on both ends of the floor. Freshman Chris Silva hasn’t turned into a scorer yet, but he is a shot blocking threat and a great rebounder. But the best rebounder on the team could be small forward Michael Carrera. He is only 6-5, but Carrera is scrappy and leads the team with 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. This is a team that will get fouled quite a bit and they take advantage of those opportunities. With the exception of Kacinas, the frontcourt players are very good at the line, at least by forward standards.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Sindarius Thornwell helps boost the team free-throw numbers too. The junior guard relentlessly attacks the basket using his 6-5 frame and will help put points on the board even when his shot is not falling. And, unfortunately for Thornwell, his shot has usually been off this season. However, he still averages 13.4 points per game. Duane Notice joins Carrera as the team’s most dangerous outside shooting threats. For the most part, Notice has been used as an offensive spark off of the bench with freshman PJ Dozier in the starting lineup. Dozier is a big 6-7 guard with a load of talent, but his inexperience and inconsistency have been an issue. Despite this team leaning quite heavily on their frontcourt, the team’s shooting numbers are pretty bad and the backcourt needs to knock down shots on a more consistent basis if South Carolina is going to make a tournament run and find that respect.
Probable Starters:
Sindarius Thornwell, Junior, Guard, 13.4 ppg, 3.8 apg, 7.7 rpg
PJ Dozier, Freshman, Guard, 6.6 ppg, 2.0 apg, 3.0 rpg
Michael Carrera, Senior, Forward, 14.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Mindaugas Kacinas, Senior, Forward, 10.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Laimonas Chatkevicius, Senior, Forward, 9.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Key Roleplayers:
Duane Notice, Junior, Guard, 11.1 ppg, 2.1 apg
Chris Silva, Freshman, Forward, 5.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Marcus Stroman, Sophomore, Guard, 2.3 ppg, 1.3 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.3 (101st in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.1 (108, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.8 (231, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.5 (19, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.3 (236, 12) 
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.3 (141, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.2 (233, 8)
Rebound Margin:  6.8 (28, 1)
Assists Per Game:  13.5 (163, 7)
Turnovers Per Game:  13.9 (287, 14)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2009    NIT      First Round loss to Davidson
2006    NIT      First Round win over Western Kentucky
2006    NIT      Second round win over Florida State
2006    NIT      Quarterfinal win over Cincinnati
2006    NIT      Semifinal win over Louisville
2006    NIT      Final win over Michigan
2005    NIT      First round win over Miami
2005    NIT      Second round win over UNLV
2005    NIT      Quarterfinal win over Georgetown
2005    NIT      Semifinal win over Maryland
2005    NIT      Final win over St. Joseph's
2004    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Memphis
2002    NIT      First round win over Virginia
2002    NIT      Second round win over UNLV
2002    NIT      Quarterfinal win over Ball State
2002    NIT      Semifinal win over Syracuse
2002    NIT      Final loss to Memphis
*all team stats through 3/6