South Carolina (9-13, 1-7 SEC) clashes with Tennessee (11-12, 3-5 SEC) in a mid-week showdown and here is your quick preview of the basketball game.
Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Tipoff: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Knoxville, Tenn.
Television: SEC Network (check local listings)
Now on to the preview.... The Vols lead the all-time series 35-23 and currently have a nine-game win streak versus the Gamecocks. Also home court does have something to do with this game as the Vols have won nine straight over the Gamecocks in Knoxville.
The Vols have won seven of their last eight games in Thompson-Boling Arena but as you can see in that one loss....there is a chance....
The Gamecocks will have to play well on both sides of the ball to get a win as it will not be easy. In SEC games, the Vols rank second in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 60.6 ppg. USC's offense must come alive as there will be no easy baskets and by all means, we are not saying live or die behind the three-point line. USC must work it inside for a higher percentage shot.
Three keys to a USC win
1. The play of Ellington - he has been a little quiet lately and he needs a strong game. Correction he must help carry the offensive-load of this squad in Rocky Top.
2. Out-hustle the Vols - USC must do all the little things to win this game. No standing around. Watch the cutters and play strong inside. In the SEC statistical standings South Carolina ranks second in rebounding defense (32.5), fifth in steals per game (6.9), tied for fifth in turnover margin (+1.0) and is third in the SEC in offensive rebounding (12.8). In all those, for USC to win, they must beat the Vols in those stat categories in this game and it boils down to out-hustling.
3. USC must generate TOs - As seen in a lot of USC wins, they play their best win the other team screws up whether the Gamecocks forced it or not. USC needs the Vols help to win this game and it begins with pressure defensively in everything UT does.
The Gamecocks must slow UT's sophomore guard Trae Golden, as he paces the Vols squad with 12.9 points per game and ranks third in the SEC with 4.7 assists per outing. He is the spark plug for UT. Take that away and winning is easier.
So can USC defeat UT and reverse the trend....eh, UT by seven but we have our fingers crossed for a upset.
Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.