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Meet USC Upstate, which is not for the squeamish

Please do not let your children watch USC Upstate basketball, thank you.

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina Upstate at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

This USC team has Upstate problems, which are way way worse than Uptown Problems. So much worse. Oh god, the horrors.

I feel like NC State has played the exact same garbage team about five times this year—new coach, bunch of new players, coming off a terrible season and having another, and on and on the same. So this is USC Upstate, the latest in that litany of moribund programs with no hope of near-future success in even the most generous sense conceivable.

Upstate fired both its athletics director and men’s basketball coach Kyle Perry following last season. Perry spent exactly one year as the head coach after spending a long time serving as an assistant. Now it is Dave Dickerson’s job to, well, I dunno, flail his arms around a lot? Maybe do some stomping. Stomping’s good.

Dickerson is playing an expansive lineup because his team has seven freshmen on it, and he has no idea what to expect of any of them at any particular time. That is to be expected from freshmen in general, and especially from freshmen playing at a bottom-rung mid-major program.

“Hey, what’s Jerry doing over there? Jerry! Hey, Jerry!”

[Jerry jogs over to bench]

“Jerry take me back through that last play and your thought process.”

“Well coach I ran off a screen into the corner but I wasn’t open so I took my shoes off and lit them on fire. I thought this would be a good distraction.”

“Where did you even get matches? You know what, nevermind. Hey, Jerry?”

“Yeah coach?”

“The fire marshal has asked you to leave.”

“Yep, I can see why he’d want me to do that.”

USC Upstate Offense

Upstate OFF_EFF (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Upstate OFF_EFF (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
2018 105.2 (167) 50.1 (199) 16.1 (36) 27.1 (227) 21.6 (351)
2019 94.3 (321) 46.9 (284) 21.6 (296) 27.1 (222) 23.2 (338)

Starters

Deion Holmes (6-2, 188) — Holmes is second on the team in scoring at 15.2 per game and leads the Spartans in workload. He takes a ton of shots so the rest of these stiffs don’t have to, which is mundane heroism if I’ve ever seen it. He’s not a bad outside shooter.

Bryson Mozone (6-6, 183) — Three-quarters of his shots have been threes, and he’s hit over 46% of those.

Malik Moore (6-6, 190) — The best player on the team and its leading scorer is Moore, who is a career 55% shooter inside the arc. He’ll shoot from the perimeter to keep defenses honest, but that’s not his strength. Good defensive rebounder, decent distributor.

Josh Aldrich (6-7, 200) — Vaguely passable low-usage inside-out guy. Decent offensive rebounder.

Nevin Zink (6-9, 219) — A highly occasional shooter who has made 47.2% of his twos this season.

Bench

Yeah probably.

USC Upstate Defense

Upstate DEF_EFF (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Upstate DEF_EFF (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
2018 125.0 (351) 59.5 (351) 15.0 (331) 30.8 (268) 32.1 (145)
2019 109.4 (306) 47.8 (85) 17.6 (250) 33.4 (312) 38.3 (267)

Upstate had the delightful distinction of having the worst defense in D-I college basketball last season, which is not something any of those guys will ever want to tell their kids. The Spartans were dead last in eFG% defense and defensive turnover rate—that’s a bad combination!

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by 29.