Off to its best start in school history since becoming a Division I program, the USC Upstate men’s basketball team is ranked 21st this week in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
Upstate enters the week 8-2 overall and has won three straight games to earn a spot in the Mid-Major poll for the first time in school history. The Spartans previously earned votes in the poll twice during the 2011-12 season, but never entered the Top 25.
Upstate is also ranked 18th in the College Court Report Mid-Major Top 20 poll.
The Spartans are coming off a 59-54 victory at Georgia Tech Saturday to post the program’s second victory over an opponent from the ACC. Upstate posted the first-ever victory over the conference last season when the Spartans opened the year with a win at Virginia Tech.
Upstate has proven to be one of the top defensive teams in the NCAA this season, as the Spartans are allowing just 55.2 points per game to rank first in the Atlantic Sun and 17th in the nation. Upstate has held seven of its 10 opponents, including four in a row, to fewer than 60 points.
The Spartans also stand first in the league and seventh in the NCAA with 10.8 steals per game. Senior guards Ty Greene (2.2 spg) and Fred Miller (1.9 spg) rank first and third, respectively in the A-Sun in steals per game.
Offensively, Upstate is winning by an average of 19.2 points per game and ranks first in the conference and 17th in the nation in scoring margin, as seven of Upstate’s eight wins have come by at least 11 points.
The Spartans have also demonstrated a selfless style of play that has resulted in 174 total assists this season, which is the second-most in the NCAA thus far this year. Additionally, Upstate averages 17.4 assists per game to rank atop the A-Sun and 15th in the nation.
Upstate hit 10 three-pointers Saturday at Georgia Tech and upped its season total to 95 to rank second in the nation for the most 3-pointers made. The Spartans are making 9.5 treys per game to lead the A-Sun while ranking second with a .378 three-point field goal percentage.
The Spartans look for another signature win Saturday at 11 a.m. when Upstate travels to College Park, Md., to face No. 19 Maryland from the XFINITY Center.