It certainly hasn't been the start to SEC play that Carolina fans dreamed of after the way non-conference play ended - a seven-game winning streak with wins over Clemson, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State - but that doesn't mean it's too late to go out and get a win that can make the fans happy. Wins like that normally come at home against rivals.
Lucky for Carolina, Georgia's headed to town. And the Dawgs are licking their wounds.
Georgia comes to Colonial Life Arena without leading scorer Marcus Thornton, who will miss today's game due to a concussion he sustained recently. That could tilt the advantage to the Gamecocks, who despite their poor run of form in SEC action - they're just 1-6 in conference so far - have been close in basically every contest, with four of their six losses coming by single digits.
Meanwhile, Georgia is on a five-game winning streak, entering this match-up at 5-2 in conference after dropping their first two SEC games of the year. However, they're not missing three key contributors. Thornton joins Juwan Parker and Kenny Paul Geno on the sidelines, leaving the Bulldogs with just seven regulars available to play this afternoon.
Those regulars are still plenty good, however. Charles Mann continues to terrorize SEC defenses by getting to the line seemingly at will, and anyone who watched last year's abomination in Athens will remember that a game between the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks likely will be settled at the free throw line. Given that Georgia comes into this game with so few healthy bodies, that could bode well for Carolina
The other positive for the Gamecocks is that points earned at the line are points they don't have to score from the field, a place they've struggled from conisderably this season. That said, Kentucky is one of the best defenses in the nation and LSU has two of the best shot blockers in the country, so the Gamecocks should find it easier to score on offense than they have their last two games.
If you can't go out and have a successful season - and despite the promise it started with, it doesn't appear Carolina is going to have a successful year - then the least you can do is go ruin your rivals' seasons. Clemson already got licked by the Gamecocks in Columbia. Can they do the same to the Bulldogs?