South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from Gamecocks' NCAA Tournament win over Presbyterian

South Carolina basketball handled the Presbyterian Blue Hose in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament, beating them by 52 points in Colonial Life Arena.

South Carolina basketball forward Sania Feagin
South Carolina basketball forward Sania Feagin / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball vs. Presbyterian Blue Hose
Thumbs Down 1: Defensive Lapses

It might seem strange to critique a defense that only surrendered 39 total points (and just 2 in the 4th quarter) in a 52-point blowout. However, there were some missed assignments defensively that did not go unnoticed by Gamecock coach Dawn Staley.

The Blue Hose went on an 8-0 run in the 2nd quarter, and two of the scores came on simple back cuts in which MiLaysia Fulwiley and Te-Hina Paopao lost track of the player they were guarding off the ball.

The Gamecocks also surrendered a lot of open jump shots to Presbyterian. The Gamecocks didn't pay for those open shots as PC couldn't make anything (3-18 from 3). Carolina allowed the Blue Hose's two best shooters to take 13 3-pointers, but luckily for the Gamecocks, Tilda Sjokvist and Mara Neira shot just 3-13.

The defensive lapses will need to be cleaned up before Sunday because players like Deja Kelly and Alyssa Ustby will make the Gamecock pay for the type of effort they showed on Friday.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Presbyterian Blue Hose
Thumbs Down 2: Free Throws

In a bit of a nitpicky "thumbs down," the Gamecocks didn't have their best free throw shooting day against PC. Carolina shot only 67% on the shot they took from the charity stripe, and in a matchup in which they were such a physical mismatch for Presbyterian, there is no good excuse for why they didn't shoot at least 20 free throws.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Presbyterian Blue Hose
Thumbs Down 3: Offense in the Paint (Or Lack Thereof)

Carolina scored just 32 points in the paint on Friday. That's not a bad number for most teams, but for the best paint team in the nation playing against a vastly outmatched opponent, that's not enough, even with Kamilla Cardoso out.

27 points from behind the 3-point arc helped, but the Gamecocks took too many midrange shots in this one. They made them (22 points came from outside the paint but inside the arc), so the end result was fine, but a good offensive process rarely results in inefficient midrange jumpers when paint touches and open 3-pointers are better options. If USC isn't hitting as many of those shots, that type of offensive process could lead to a lot more empty possessions down the road.

Next. South Carolina Basketball: Clueless ex-ESPN employee attacks Dawn Staley. South Carolina Basketball: Clueless ex-ESPN employee attacks Dawn Staley. dark