South Carolina (13-8, 4-4 SEC) vs. Mississippi State (15-6, 3-5)
Start time: 8:30 p.m.
TV: SEC Network
Live stream: watchespn.com
The Gamecocks faltered down the stretch against No. 14 Texas Tech in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, unable to hold on to a late lead in a 70-63 defeat in Columbia. An ill-timed scoring drought and inability to make key free throws sunk South Carolina, which was looking for an NCAA Tournament-boosting win. Chris Silva led the Gamecocks with 16 points, while Justin Minaya and Felipe Haase added 11 each.
What to watch for
If South Carolina wants to keep a shot at the Big Dance alive, it really needs a victory against Mississippi State to get back on track. The Bulldogs are coming off a 74-62 home win against Missouri, but are winless on the road this season (0-5, 0-4 in SEC play). Quindary Weatherspoon leads State with 15 points per game, followed by Aric Holman (11.7) and Nick Weatherspoon (10.4). The Bulldogs are a defense-oriented team, ranking first in the SEC in scoring defense (65.2 points per game), third in field goal percentage defense (40%) and fourth in blocked shots (5.6). The Gamecocks, a defense-oriented team themselves, are second in the league in scoring defense with 66 points allowed per game, so this could be another rock fight like the Texas Tech matchup.