South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt
Date: Tuesday, February 14th
Time: 6:30 PM
Where: Colonial Life Arena - Columbia, SC
The Gamecocks are looking to pick up their second win in a row against a hot Vanderbilt Commodores team. The Commodores hold a record just above .500 at 13-12, and ranked 90th in KenPom’s latest advanced metric rankings.
This Vanderbilt squad has a ton of momentum currently thanks to their three-game winning streak, including taking down the #6 ranked Tennessee Volunteers at the buzzer. The Commodores also took down Ole Miss, as well as a solid Florida Gators team in that span. This bumped their SEC record up to 6-6, so the Commodores are hungry to get another conference win.
Liam Robbins is going to be a key player to look out for in this matchup. He leads the team in points and rebounds per game, with 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds. Robbins does it efficiently as well, shooting an impressive 50% from the field. The last time these two squads matched up, Robbins had a field day with 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 blocks. I want to emphasize that last stat of 6 blocks, as Robbins will be just as good down below on defense as he will on offense.
It was Ezra Manjon who led the Commodores last time out against the Gamecocks, putting up a season high of 24 points on 61% shooting. The senior UC Davis transfer has been a solid player for the Commodores all season, averaging 8.6 points per game and a team high of 3.5 assists per game.
Hayden Brown is going to need to keep his hot streak going for South Carolina to pick up their second straight win. Over his last five games, Brown is averaging 14.4 points per game and has been a key player when the game is coming down to the line. Brown has also showcased tremendous defensive improvement, averaging 1.6 steals night over that span.
The biggest question mark about this game is GG Jackson. Will he come off the bench again? Will he play at all? If you ask me, I’m not sure if his attitude lately is going to be very helpful for the team. The Gamecocks seem to be playing fairly well when Jackson has not played a major role in the game, so I don’t see a reason to change anything if he is going to pout whenever he doesn’t get his way. However, if Jackson does start, I don’t think it will be in the worst thing in the world, I just hope that he can get out of this mental slump.
KenPom is giving South Carolina a 32% chance to pick up the victory against Vanderbilt with a score prediction of South Carolina 67, Vanderbilt 72
My Prediction: South Carolina 66, Vanderbilt 63