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Inside the Numbers: How South Carolina Dented Michigan’s Defense

South Carolina wasn’t supposed to score much against Michigan.

The Gamecocks were 175th in adjusted offensive efficiency heading into their Dec. 8th clash with Michigan, and they couldn’t even muster 0.85 points per possession in a road loss to Wyoming.

The Wolverines, on the other hand, were tops in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and had been pulverizing opposing offenses until that point. It’s not just that six schools have had their worst offensive effort of the season against Michigan. It’s by how much that has been the case. Five of them have scored at least 11.8 points per 100 possessions less against Michigan than in their next worst offensive performance. North Carolina? 15.1 points worse. Villanova? 18.4 points worse. Holy Cross? 28.9 points worse. U-M’s defense had been operating on a whole other level.

So it was expected that the Wolverines’ defense would silence the Gamecocks. KenPom projected that South Carolina would post 59 points against U-M, and that seemed like a generous number.

However, to the surprise of many, it was quite conservative.

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