Start time: 2pm
TV: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Dalen Cuff)
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com
Radio: 107.5 The Game (Columbia) (Derek Scott, Casey Manning)
Live Audio: Gamecock IMG Sports Network
Nine conference games down, nine to go for the Gamecocks as the Georgia Bulldogs step into Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina looks in much better shape in the standings through the midway point of the season this year than they did last year, but with the final stretch before the SEC Tournament now in progress, their hope is that their upward momentum can carry them on to a long-awaited NCAA Tournament appearance.
There was a stat from yesterday that I noticed that was fairly eye opening: the top four active scorers in the SEC right now will be on the court this afternoon. There’s a great deal of experience shared between Sindarius Thornwell, Duane Notice, and Yante Maten - and while PJ Dozier is on the list despite being a sophomore, it’s shown how he has come into his own as a key player for this club in this almost two years here. Maten (19.8) and Thornwell (19.1) are separated by just tenths of a point for second and third on the league’s scoring chart, respectively, and seeing those two go at it will be a treat.
South Carolina won the battle between these two teams a month ago today up in Athens by a 67-61 count. It was Thornwell’s first game back after a multiple-game suspension toward the end of the Gamecocks’ non-league slate, and while he provided a terrific game with 19 points and 11 rebounds, it was Dozier who stole the show as he added 24 points and seven rebounds to the winning effort. The effort between Thornwell and Dozier was needed because only three other Gamecocks besides Chris Silva (13) found the scoresheet. If Carolina is to put together a strong run toward (and during) the NCAA Tournament, they absolutely need a maximum effort from Silva and Notice to aid Thornwell and Dozier. We saw that against LSU the other day, and while that might be in part due to the poor season the Tigers have been having, seeing the Gamecocks’ big four clicking the way they were on Wednesday evening was a welcome sight.