South Carolina (8-0) vs. Drexel (1-6)
WATCH: 7:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network+
The Christmas and holiday season means final exams for college kids, thus equaling a break for the South Carolina basketball program.
The Gamecocks are ending their 10-day exam break on Tuesday night when they host Drexel at Colonial Life Arena. We last saw Frank Martin's team on Dec. 5 when they throttled South Florida in the first half before quieting a late Bulls rally in the final minutes. Four Gamecocks scored in double-figures that afternoon, led by senior forward Michael Carrera's 19 points, which were the most he has scored in a game since his freshman year.
Duane Notice posted 15 points, hitting six of his eight field goal attempts, helping South Carolina shoot 60 percent from the floor in the first half.
During their time off, the Gamecocks have remained the only undefeated team in the SEC and as of this week, they are nationally ranked for the first time since 2004. USC entered the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll this week at No. 25. The Gamecocks continue to receive votes in the meaningful AP poll, checking in at No. 27 this week.
Drexel arrives in Columbia having been off since Dec. 5 as well. The Dragons are just 1-6 entering Tuesday night's game but won their last outing, a surprising 66-53 win over La Salle on the road. They were led by Tavon Allen's 25 points, which tied a career-high. Allen (15.1 PPG) is one of three Dragon players to average double-figure scoring this season. Rashann London (12.0) and Terrell Allen (11.3) help with the scoring load as well.
Tuesday's meeting is the first all-time between the two programs. A win tonight would give South Carolina its best start since the 1970-71 season - the year they won the ACC.
Senior forward Mindaugas Kaacinas leads the Gamecocks in points and rebounds, and like most of their early matchups this year, USC will hold a size advantage over their opponent. South Carolina currently ranks second in the SEC and 25th in the nation with a rebound margin of +9.1.
The Gamecocks have trailed just twice all season and if a third time should come tonight, it likely will be in the early moments of the game as the Dragons offer little trouble to this deep South Carolina bunch.