The South Carolina men’s basketball team (10-17, 2-11 SEC) will play host to the Tennessee Volunteers (15-13, 7-6 SEC) on Saturday evening in a game set to begin at 8 p.m. ET on FSN. The Gamecocks need to pull the upset just to end the season in respectable fashion as the Vols are beatable but it will take a total team effort from USC.
The Gamecocks suffered a 69-57 loss in Knoxville in the first meeting of the season between the two schools just two weeks ago and recently lost to Vandy. UT has won five of its last six contests but for the season is 1-5 on SEC road games. Again, USC can win this game and here is how….
Three Keys for USC to pull the upset:
1. Capitalize off high effort – This simply means the Gamecocks must out-hussle the Vols. South Carolina ranks third in the SEC in steals (6.5) and blocks (4.5) per game. But by doing the little things like have active hands to create havoc, the Gamecocks have to make the most of the opportunities.
2. Slow Trae – UT’s sophomore guard Trae Golden leads the team with 13.0 points and 4.7 assists per game. He is the spark plug for UT and if the Gamecocks are to win they must shut him down. The Gamecocks need to have strong guard play in this game on both sides of the ball.
3. Just Win - the slogan works for the Gamecocks baseball team and for the football team so why not basketball? USC needs this win to avoid the mark of worst SEC conference record….ever.
Tennessee has a 10-game win streak over South Carolina. Tennessee leads the all-time series 36-23, however South Carolina leads the series 14-11 when it is played in Columbia.
Tennessee’s probable starters: G Skylar McBee 6-3 Jr. (6.6 ppg, 1.1 rpg); G Cameron Tatum 6-7 Sr. (7.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg); G Trae Golden 6-1 So. (13.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg); F Jeronne Maymon 6-7 Jr. (12.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg); F Jarnell Stokes 6-8 Fr. (8.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
South Carolina’s probable starters: G Bruce Ellington 5-9 So. (10.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg); G Damien Leonard 6-4 Fr. (6.7 ppg, 1.1 rpg); F R.J. Slawson 6-8 So. (4.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg); F Malik Cooke 6-6 Sr. (12.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg); C Damontre Harris 6-9 So. (7.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg).
Should be a good game and let’s hope USC can squeak out a win. Oh and let’s hope UT does not “Paint Columbia Orange!”