Start time: 6:30pm
TV: SEC Network
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com
Radio: 107.5 The Game (in Columbia)
Live Audio: Gamecock IMG Sports Network
The South Carolina Gamecocks look to maintain their tie atop the SEC with a home tilt against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas, 7-5 in the conference, are tied with Alabama for fourth place in the conference (since three teams are tied for first,) and is looking to secure an NCAA tournament berth for the second time in three years.
Arkansas is led by Dusty Hannahs, a senior guard who scores 14.3 ppg, and Moses Kingsley, a senior forward who scores 11.7 ppg while also grabbing 7.5 boards per contest. Arkansas is a tough team, and should certainly not be taken lightly. Coach Martin said that “Hannahs... is an aggressive and scoring guards. We’ve got to be very clean, not turning it over or taking bad shots,” Martin said. “We have our hands full. We’ve gotta take advantage of the opportunity that we’re playing at home. This should be a tightly contested game, as both teams match up well in terms of physicality and very good guard play. It will likely come down to the defense in this game, and if that becomes the case South Carolina, one of the top defensive teams in the country, should have the edge.
Although Sindarius Thornwell is always the answer here (noted by ESPN as one of eight players who can carry their team to a national title a la Kemba Walker,) Chris Silva and how he matches up with Moses Kingsley will definitely be something to watch. If he can stay out of foul trouble and compete on the glass, as well as limiting Kingsley on defense, that will go a long way towards a South Carolina victory. However, if Silva picks up his two fouls early, this team will have their hands full from the start.
Three Keys To the Game
- Rebounding: After getting out-rebounded by a combined thirteen rebounds against Alabama and Mississippi State, it will be crucial for the Gamecocks to respond well and win the rebounding battle.
- Early Rhythm Offensively: Against Alabama, South Carolina struggled to generate points early, and ended up falling into a very deep hole that caused their defeat. The next game, Thornwell took over and scored the first twelve points. This team has to find consistency early, and that doesn’t mean having Thornwell score all the points. A varied attack is crucial to winning games come March.
- Avoiding Foul Trouble: Although South Carolina has a great deal of depth at the guard position, that forwards are a completely different story. If Kotsar and Silva struggle to stay out of foul trouble, this game could get ugly quickly.
A win tonight keeps the Gamecocks in first place in the SEC. Beating tournament teams like Arkansas look great on a resume, and limiting the losses are key to getting a top 6 seed in the tournament.