Well, that sucked. In a golden opportunity to get on the right side of the bubble, the Gamecocks whiffed big time, losing 79-53 to the Vols in a game that wasn't close for most of the night. Devan Downey led the Gamecocks with 26 points, but with that coming on 5-20 shooting on the rest of the team only scoring 27, it wasn't enough. UT's Wayne Chism led all scorers with 30 in a spectacular performance.
A few thoughts on the game:
- While our performance last night was deplorable, it's worth noting that the Vols are simply a bad matchup for us. We don't have the horses right now to combat their athleticism. That doesn't mean we can't win games against them--see what we did against Kentucky--but it does mean that it will always be a tough haul until Darrin Horn gets some better athletes in Columbia, particularly in the post.
- The Vols limited Downey's effectiveness with man-to-man double teams and smart help defense down low when Downey got into the lane. Credit goes to Vols coach Bruce Pearl for devising an effective gameplan with which to slow Downey down. However, this often left shooters open, but we shot the ball very poorly, which is what cost us a chance to stay in the game. Brandis Raley-Ross, Stephen Spinella, Ramon Galloway, and Evaldas Baniulus have to make more of those open shots if we're going to have a chance to win ball games against teams as good as Tennessee.
That's a wrap on this one. I'm off to watch the Saints win the Super Bowl and would prefer just to forget about last night's abomination. If you're interested, check out SB Nation.com's Super Bowl open thread.