South Carolina (17-2) vs. Mississippi State (8-10)
WATCH: 7:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
The South Carolina Gamecocks will climb back on the proverbial horse after falling off over the weekend. In a game as messy as mud, USC suffered a 78-69 loss on the road to Tennessee, earning their second loss of the year Saturday afternoon.
A season-high 22 points from Michael Carrera was not enough to out duel a career-high 36 points from UT's leading scorer, Kevin Punter. Carolina committed 17 turnovers, transitioning to 24 Volunteer points as Tennessee also outscored South Carolina in the paint, 40-14.
The Vols were led by head coach Rick Barnes, who is spending his first season on Rocky Top. The Gamecocks will get another SEC newcomer on Tuesday night at Colonial Life Arena when they host Ben Howland and Mississippi State.
USC is unranked entering Tuesday's bout after falling out of the Associated Press Top 25 poll earlier this week. The Gamecocks played four of their first six SEC games on the road but now get four home match-ups in their next six contests. Good teams win their home games so there is ample time for Frank Martin's bunch to gain momentum and get back in the top-25.
The Bulldogs arrive in Columbia with a record under .500 and a 1-5 mark in league play. MSU just won their first conference game this past Saturday, defeating instate rival Ole Miss. The Mississippi State attack is spearheaded by seniors Gavin Ware and Craig Sword. They make up two of the four Bulldog players that average double-figures in scoring, with Ware tallying a team-high 16.2 points per game. Mississippi State also boasts one of the most talented freshman in the country, guard Malik Newman. After a slow start to his freshman campaign, Newman has shown flashes of the lottery pick potential many think he possesses. One could say that this Bulldog team is playing its best basketball at the moment.
The Gamecocks got torched by Tennessee in the paint as Laimonas Chatkevicius played one of the worst games of his career. He wasn't the only one as many Gamecock players, including star Sindarius Thornwell, looked lethargic and uninterested in Saturday's loss. Those two must play better on Tuesday for USC to get back to their winning ways. Martin's teams have a habit of bouncing back, and despite a sinking feeling amongst some members of the fan base, this is a resilient bunch who is no stranger to adversity.
The slow starts on the road and the poor perimeter defense have got to stop - but for now, USC is at home and they will play like it.