FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall, firstname.lastname@example.org
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The USC Upstate men's basketball team will look to get back on track Saturday afternoon, taking on Atlantic Sun Conference leader Florida Gulf Coast at 5:15 p.m. in front of a national audience on ESPN3.
The matchup between the Spartans (13-12, 7-5 A-Sun) and Eagles (17-8, 9-3 A-Sun) is the second meeting this season and 12th all-time between the two programs with FGCU holding a 7-4 edge.
Date: Sat. Feb. 9 | 5:15 PM EST
Teams: USC Upstate (13-12, 7-5 A-Sun) at Florida Gulf Coast (17-8, 9-3 A-Sun)
Location: Fort Myers, Fla. | Alico Arena
TV: ESPN3 | TV Talent: Matt Stewart (play-by-play), Sonny Smith (Analyst)
Radio: ESPN Spartanburg 97.1 FM / 1400 AM | Radio Talent: Phil Cox (play-by-play)
Live Stats: FGCU Stat Broadcast
Twitter: @UPSTMBB | #UpstateHoops
- Upstate and Florida Gulf Coast needed extra time on Jan. 10 to decide the first matchup of the year, as the Eagles escaped the Hodge Center with a 72-71 victory. The overtime thriller snapped a 12-game home winning streak for the Spartans that spanned over a full calendar year.
- The roles are reversed this time, with FGCU entering the contest on a five-game winning streak, which is tied for the 15th longest in the country and the Eagles also sport a 12-1 mark inside Alico Arena this season.
- After opening the season with three straight conference road wins, Upstate has dropped two straight A-Sun games away from home, falling at Mercer on Jan. 19 and at Stetson Thursday evening.
- The Spartans begin a two-game stretch Saturday against the top two teams in the league, both coming on the national stage. Upstate will battle the league's top team in FGCU Saturday, before welcoming second-place Mercer to town next Thursday with both games broadcasted across the globe on ESPN3.
- Saturday will feature the top two scoring offensives in the league, as FGCU leads the A-Sun at 73.9 points per game, while Upstate is second at 71.3. The Spartans also rank third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 65.9 points per contest, just ahead of the Eagles who rank fourth at 68.0.
- Upstate and FGCU hold the top two scoring margins in the conference, with the Eagles at +5.9 and the Spartans at +5.4. Mercer is the only other team in the league with a positive scoring margin, currently sitting at +5.0.
- The two squads are also dead even and at the top of the conference in three-point field goal percentage, with Upstate leading the A-Sun at .350, while FGCU is second at .348. Despite leading the league from behind the arc, the Spartans have managed to knock down just 14 of their last 53 attempts from long range over the last three games, resulting in a pair of defeats.
- Upstate's Jodd Maxey and FGCU's Eric McKnight are two of the most explosive players in the league, sitting atop the A-Sun statistics as the best shot blockers in the conference. Maxey's 1.6 blocks per game and 41 total blocks are the league's best, while McKnight is second with 1.4 per game and 35 total blocks.
- Both Upstate and FGCU have dominated the glass on their respective ends of the floor, as the Spartans lead the league in offensive rebounds with 13.2 per contest, while the Eagles lead the A-Sun in defensive rebounds with 25.5 per game. Ricardo Glenn is the best offensive rebounder in the league at 3.9 per contest, while Torrey Craig is third in the conference in defensive rebounds at 4.9 per outing.
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: Torrey Craig has been honored by College Hoops Daily as the Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Month during January. The defending A-Sun Player of the Year was honored with the same award following a stellar November campaign. Players are selected based on the best fantasy and statistical value for their respective programs. Craig is currently third in the league in scoring at 16.8 points per game, sitting just behind Markeith Cummings (KSU) and Parker Smith (UNF). The Great Falls, S.C., native is in search of his second-straight A-Sun Player of the Year award and third major conference award in as many seasons.
POWER RANKINGS BY POMEROY: In the latest rankings by ESPN contributor Ken Pomeroy, the Spartans are the second highest ranked team in the A-Sun behind FGCU (138) and rated No. 184 in the country. Upstate has won four of its last six games and will have a chance to make a statement Saturday against Pomeroy's top-ranked team in the league. Through various formulas and statistical methods, Pomeroy develops the rankings that many think could be as accurate as any available. The Spartans rank as the No. 4 team in the state of South Carolina, sitting only behind Clemson (100), College of Charleston (133) and Charleston Southern (179). Upstate is ranked ahead of Coastal Carolina (189) and South Carolina (198) in the Palmetto State.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: (Baylor's Scott Drew) "This is a game that as a coach, you know that your opponent is a lot better than people might realize. You can see them in the NCAA tournament winning a game."
(Kansas State's Bruce Weber) "They have a really good ball club. When we looked at it going into all these non-conference games they had 21 wins last year and the best turn-around in the country."
(Saint Louis' Jim Crews) "I thought they were good coming in, and I know they're good coming out. Every time we made a mistake, they drilled us every single time. It was uncanny. If we made a defensive slip, we got burned."