Game Start: 8 p.m.
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: 107.5 The Game in Columbia
The South Carolina Gamecocks travel to Starkville toinght to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. After losing in four overtimes to Alabama at home, the Gamecocks will by trying bounce back on the road. If Carolina is going to remain in the top 25, they’ll need to pick up a win tonight.
Mississippi State enters the contest at 14-9 (5-6) on the season. They lost at Auburn 98-92 last time out after knocking off Tennessee at home last weekend. They are in need of a big win to improve their chances of qualifying for the NIT. They have won three of five home games in SEC play, losing to only Alabama and Kentucky.
South Carolina will be playing off the back of a four overtimes so the bench will be a key to the game. Sindarius Thornwell, PJ Dozier and Duane Notice all played over 50 minutes in the defeat while Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar both played under 25 after fouling out. Freshman Rakym Felder only played seven minutes off the bench so he will deffinatley be able to play more. After the team shot 5-31 from beyond the arc, Felder could provide a spark as he is shooting a team-high 46 percent from three.
Mississippi State is led by sophomore guard Quinndary Weatherspoon. Weatherspoon averages 17.3 points per game on the season. He scored 25 in the loss against Auburn. He only scored seven in their win against Tennessee which was only the third time of the season he failed to score double figures. In the win against Tennessee, freshman guard Mario Kegler scored a season-high 17 points. He followed that up with 16 against Auburn, bringing his season average to 10.1 points per game. Freshman Lamar Peters is the only other Bulldog averaging double figures at 12.4 points per game. He had 23 against Auburn.
The Gamecocks need a third guy to step up and help Thornwell and Dozier. The two are good enough to win games for Carolina but the Gamecocks need to maintain their seeding. They currently sit in the 5-6 range but have plenty of room to move both up and down. If they want to move up, it’s going to take a win against Florida and make a run at the SEC Tournament. Carolina will need someone besides Thornwell and Dozier to step up for that to happen.