While most MAC basketball fans were watching the craziest day in NCAA history yesterday, EMU fans have been looking forward to today, when the women's basketball team will take on the #25 South Carolina Gamecocks.
This game presents an interesting matchup of contrasting styles. Although Tavelyn James is excellent from three-point range, EMU is usually best in a fast game where they can force a lot of turnovers and score easy baskets in transition. The Gamecocks, on the other hand, are what a better-shooting version of the EMU men's basketball team might look like, preferring to keep things slow and deliberate, in the half-court.
I recently posed several questions to Gamecock Man of Garnet And Black Attack, the SB Nation South Carolina blog (my answers to his questions are here). He mentioned that South Carolina has had some problems with turnovers against the more aggressive defenses they've faced, which I think bodes well for EMU today. He also noted "I also think your forwards, particularly Paige Redditt, may give the Gamecocks fits, because we struggle against good front lines." Redditt and Olivia Fouty together are definitely a good front line, and when India Hairston subs in, I don't think South Carolina has anyone who can really match up with her.
Women's Basketball State ranks EMU as the #36 team, and South Carolina as the #33 team, so although the Eagles are underdogs, it's not by nearly as much as the 5-12 matchup would suggest. And, the men's tournament yesterday should have put to rest any doubts about the ability of a mid-major team to score a big upset.