The Tennessee Volunteers are all set for another road test today in the form of the South Carolina Gamecocks (12-6). A shocking final four team from a year ago, Frank Martin’s Gamecocks have taken a step back this season, replacing plenty of talent from last year’s team.
Tennessee will look to rebound from a tough game against Missouri on Wednesday night. The loss dropped the Volunteers to 3-3 in the conference and 12-5 overall, snapping a three game winning streak in the process. It was a night where Tennessee got virtually nothing from the guards, which can’t happen if this team wants to make a run come March.
Simply put, Jordan Bone and Jordan Bowden are going to have to be more consistent. The two of them combined for just three points against Missouri, shooting 1-13 from the field. With teams obviously keying on Grant Williams, the Vols are going to have to have more help from the backcourt.
Tennessee has another chance to find consistency today in Columbia, South Carolina.
For the Gamecocks, forward Chris Silva leads the team in scoring, averaging over 14 points per game. The 6-9 junior also leads South Carolina in rebounding, grabbing nearly eight boards per contest. Maik Kotsar adds some beef to the frontcourt, checking in at 6-10, 260 pounds. With Silva and Kotsar anchoring, South Carolina ranks 57th in the nation in rebounding.
The outside attack for the Gamecocks is led by Frank Booker, who is shooting 39 percent from long range so far this year. Booker averages over 11 points per game. He’s a volume shooter, so look for plenty of outside attempts from No. 5.
South Carolina hangs their hat on the defensive end, ranking 36th in the country in points allowed to this point. They rank 15th in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.
The Gamecocks don’t have the size depth that Missouri did, but they play in a very similar way. As noted above, the guards are going to have to produce. Hopefully, we can just throw out what we saw on Wednesday night. Odds are, you’re not going to see a combined three points from Bone and Bowden again this year.
Tip-off: 6 PM eastern
Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Radio: Vol Network
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Odds: Tennessee -3.5