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MBB Preview: South Carolina vs. LSU

Two of the top teams in the SEC meet Wednesday night as South Carolina hosts LSU at Colonial Life Arena.

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina (20-3) vs. LSU (15-8)

WATCH: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

After a week on the road, South Carolina will welcome a week at home. The Gamecocks traveled to Athens and College Station during last week's road trip. Against Georgia, USC put forth one of their saddest efforts of the year. They dug themselves in such a whole in the first half that it became impossible to overcome. The trip to Stegeman Coliseum summed up the road woes and slow starts that have come to plague this team in 2016.

The Gamecock rebounded with a performance I wasn't quite sure they had in them, upsetting No. 8 Texas A&M in College Station over the weekend. It was the first road win over a top-10 team in the last 10 years and the first since the Gamecocks upended No. 6 Florida in 2006. USC hit a season low 31.6 percent of their attempts against Georgia but shot an amazing 52.6 percent on Saturday, their best shooting percentage in league play this season.

Sindarius Thornwell tallied 25 points in the win, just one shy of matching his career-high, against the Aggies. Michael Carrera contributed 20 points in the win and in the process, joining a special group of players in Gamecock history. You remember Thornwell reached the 1,000-point plateau earlier this season and Carrera became the 43rd member of the club in College Station. They may have another teammate join them soon as Duane Notice is just 83 points away from reaching 1,000 points for his career.

South Carolina plays both of this week's games at Colonial Life Arena and four of their next five match-ups over the next two weeks will be at home. The stretch gets started Wednesday night when the Gamecocks welcome Ben Simmons and the LSU Tigers. Simmons has basically secured his spot as the No. 1 overall pick in this June's NBA Draft. His 19.4 points per game leads the Tigers and his 12.3 rebounds is tops in the conference. He also ranks second in the SEC in steals per game (1.9) and fifth in assists (5.0).

LSU leads the SEC and ranks 32nd nationally in field goal percentage (47.6) thanks to Simmons 56.7 percent mark from the field this season. Simmons also has helped the Tigers rank second in the league with 7.7 steals per game as well as third in the league with 16.4 assists per game.

The Tigers are currently leading the SEC with an 8-2 record in conference play as South Carolina remains just one game behind them on the leaderboard. A USC win tonight would tie the Gamecocks with the Kentucky Wildcats atop the SEC standings. South Carolina and Kentucky will meet Saturday in Columbia.

This will be the lone meeting between the two programs this regular season and the all-time series is currently knotted at 15-15. Oddly enough, LSU holds an edge in games in Columbia and South Carolina has the advantage with games played in Baton Rouge. The Tigers have won three in a row over USC and four of the last five in the series. Frank Martin earned his first-ever SEC win against LSU in 2013 but it has been since 2010 that the Gamecocks defeated LSU in Columbia.

A win over South Carolina would help LSU's curious bubble situation but USC is hoping to stake their claim to a regular-season SEC championship and a win Wednesday night would go a long way to achieving that goal.