Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tennessee-South Carolina Prediction


Tennessee Volunteers at South Carolina Gamecocks
Thursday 7PM
TV: ESPN

Tennessee takes on South Carolina with the winner grabbing hold of the SEC East lead. If Tennessee wins they will win the East having already beaten South Carolina once already. The Gamecocks are hoping to protect their 16-1 home record including an undefeated 7-0 in SEC play.

Records:
Tennessee 18-10, 9-5, 5-5(away), RPI #21
South Carolina 20-7, 9-5, 16-1(home), RPI #42

Series:
Tennessee has won 8 of the last 10
South Carolina has won 3 of the last 5 at home

Last Meeting - Tennessee 81 South Carolina 78
The Vols held off a 2nd half rally from South Carolina to defeat the Gamecocks by three in Knoxville. UT was red hot shooting 59 percent from the floor but 22 turnovers was almost their undoing. Tyler Smith led all scorers with 20 points. The Gamecocks were able to grab 15 offensive rebounds.


What South Carolina Must Do To Win...

1. Guard the 3 Point Shot
The Vols are not a great outside shooting team, but they shot 10-19 on three pointers in Sunday's win at Florida. The Gamecocks are allowing just over 32 percent on the season, but Vandy was 8 for 16 in the Gamecocks loss last Saturday.

2. Frederick, Downey, and ?
We know Zam Frederick and Devan Downey are going to get their points. But who else will step up for Darin Horn's club? Dominique Archie and Mike Holmes are both averaging double figures and will need to take some of the burden off Downey and Frederick.

What Tennessee Must Do To Win...

1. Protect the Ball
South Carolina ranks number one in the SEC in forced turnovers at nearly 20 per game. The Vols had just six in the win against Florida and 10 in the previous game vs Miss State, also a win. Contrast that with five of South Carolina's last six opponents having turned it over at least 20 times.

2. Establish An Inside Presence
While watching the Kentucky-South Carolina game I was amazed at how many blocks the Gamecocks got (16). But the Vols cannot be scared to take it inside which is one of their strengths. Wayne Chism and Tyler Smith have to establish themselves inside.

Prediction

I have become a beliver in South Carolina this season. I think they are in the NCAA Tournament, but some still feel they are a bubble team. They will cement their status with a win at home over Tennessee because the Vols will not be able to replicate their Florida shooting performance.

South Carolina wins by 3-8 points

Season: 22-20 SU through 3/3


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