South Carolina (21-5) vs. Florida (17-9)
WATCH: 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
South Carolina takes the floor for the first time on Saturday afternoon since suffering arguably their worst loss of the season. The Gamecocks fell to Missouri on Tuesday night, 72-67, inside Missouri Arena.
The Tigers are at the bottom of the SEC and their win over USC was just their third conference win of the season. South Carolina has struggled often on the road this season and that didn't change earlier this week. Three of their losses this year have come in mid-week, SEC road games and they spell out exactly the same way. Slow off the bus, falling behind in the first half, forcing a rally after halftime but falling short because of the big first half deficit.
During their midweek media session, Sindarius Thornwell said nothing is guaranteed on this team and that all playing time is now up for grabs. My high school coach did that every year - it never worked. The team's attitude needs an adjustment when they play on the road, I'm not sure there's someone on the bench that's going to change that with time on the floor.
The Gamecocks have now lost two in a row and enter Saturday's game against Florida having lost seven in a row to the Gators. UF is currently tied with South Carolina, and Texas A&M, in the SEC standings. Like USC, they've struggled on the road in conference play and Frank Martin's team always seems like a different team when playing on their home floor.
Florida has been gaining momentum over the last couple of weeks, winning seven of their last 10 games. Mike White is in his first season in Gainesville after Billy Donovan left to coach the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason.
Senior Dorian Finney-Smith leads the Gators in scoring with 15.1 points per game. They get solid contribution from freshman guard KeVaughn Allen (11.9 PPG) and John Egbunu (10.8 PPG). The last time we saw the Gamecocks at home, Kentucky's backcourt was carving up the USC defense. USC's perimeter defense will be important the rest of the way and something that desperately needs to improve if this team expects to make some noise this spring.
The Gamecocks' field goal percentage defense has been a point of promotion but the Gators actually have a better mark at this point in the season, forcing opponents to shoot 39.6 percent from the field on the year.
The two game losing streak hasn't dimmed the enthusiasm from Gamecock nation as Saturday's contest is sold out. It will be the third sellout of the season, making it the first time ever that Colonial Life Arena has sold out three times in a men's basketball season.
South Carolina hasn't defeated Florida at home since 2010, but they'll be out looking to break two different streaks on Saturday afternoon.