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Game preview: Gamecock men open SEC play against Florida

The conference slate begins.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina (8-5, 0-0 SEC) vs. Florida (9-4, 1-0)

Start time: 7 p.m.


Radio: 107.5 The Game

Last game

Look, I’m not gonna belabor the point here and make us feel bad about ourselves all over again. Yes, it’s true — last time out, South Carolina lost to Stetson in mind-boggling yet vintage Gamecock fashion. BUT it’s a new year, we’re about to open SEC play, and we’re starting fresh. Let’s turn the page on an inconsistent out-of-conference slate — which, to be fair, was not without its fun moments and highlights — and hope we get the Real Schedule started off on the right foot. More of that Clemson and Virginia energy, less of the Stetson/BU variety, please.

What to watch for

Florida is already 1-0 in the SEC, having rallied from 21 points down to beat Alabama 104-98 in an improbable double-overtime victory this past weekend. The Gators have had a fairly solid season to this point, scheduling some OOC heavy hitters in Butler and Xavier and splitting those games.

As expected, much-ballyhooed Virginia Tech transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. has been doing the heavy lifting for Florida on offense; the forward is averaging 14.9 points and nine rebounds per game, leading the Gators in both categories. Freshman guard Scottie Lewis could be one to keep an eye on as well, as he captured SEC Freshman of the Week honors with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks in that win against Bama. A couple of cool stats, though: The Gators are so far winless in true road games this season (0-2), and also lead the SEC with 12.1 turnovers committed per game.

The Gamecocks have won five of the last seven against the Gators, including the teams’ most recent meeting, so hey — that’s a positive trend. Let’s keep it rolling and start 2020 with good vibes only.