The SEC is represented on the college basketball schedule Wednesday night in Knoxville. The South Carolina Gamecocks travel to Knoxville, Tennessee for a meeting against the No. 19 team in the country. The Gamecocks are looking to end a three-game losing streak and pull off the upset as a double-digit underdog on the road. In their most recent defeat, South Carolina fell by a score of 81-74 against Ole Miss on Saturday.
They lost as one-point favorites against the Rebels in that contest. It’s understandable losing against a good Alabama team, 81-78, covering as seven-point underdogs, but the Gamecocks had no excuses for losing against Mississippi State and Ole Miss at home. They were favorites in both but came up empty. After going winless on their three-game homestand, South Carolina heads on the road for a game against one of the best teams in the SEC.
Following tonight, South Carolina will close out the season with four games, one against Missouri, Mississippi State, Georgia, and Arkansas. There are no more two-game series for the Gamecocks, so the rest of the season resembles some form of normalcy. The same goes for Tennessee, who has only three games left after tonight. They’re going to be favorites in every game against Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Auburn.
The Volunteers go into Wednesday with a record of 14-5. If they don’t get upset along the way, Tennessee will finish off the year with a record of 17-5, which would be more than enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament. They don’t have to win the SEC to get into the madness in March. With Kentucky playing terrible basketball this season, the door is wide open for somebody to win, though. The likely winner is probably Alabama or Tennessee. Head below for our free South Carolina vs. Tennessee pick on February 17, 2021.
South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Tennessee Volunteers NCAA Betting Odds:
South Carolina vs. Tennessee Prediction:
Tennessee is coming off a 78-65 loss against the LSU Tigers on Saturday. It was a poor performance from the Volunteers who went into Baton Rouge as three-point favorites. It’s never easy to go on the road and win as a favorite. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is, or if there are fans in attendance, winning on the road is tough. Prior to that loss, the Volunteers beat Kentucky, 82-71, and Georgia, 89-81.
That was a rare game where the defense wasn’t in good form for Tennessee. They let that one potentially get away from them. Otherwise, though, the Tennessee defense has been top-notch. If they’re going to go deep into the tournament, it’s going to happen because of their pressure defensively. Tennessee is too hot and cold offensively to depend on their offense, but their ability to frustrate offenses has been a driving force in their success.
Tennessee has conceded an average of just 61.7 points per game for 15th in the NCAA. They have been slightly better at home, with 60.8 points allowed per game. After two of their worst defensive performances recently, expect Tennessee to tighten up against the Gamecocks in this one. It would be the first time all season that Tennessee has conceded more than 70 points in three straight outings, and against South Carolina? It’s unlikely to happen.
Not to say South Carolina isn’t bad offensively. They’re 118th in the country with 74.1 points per game. However, if they get behind early and need the three ball to play catch up, good luck with that. And with the Gamecocks’ weak defense, it’s happening more often than they’d like. South Carolina is shooting 31.2% from beyond the arc for 289th in the NCAA. Essentially what happens is the Gamecocks get down, fire away from three to try to catch up quickly, and games get away from them.
South Carolina is getting touched up for 76.3 points per game, and 80.4 points per game on the road. They head into Knoxville with the 296th best defense in the NCAA. If South Carolina were fully healthy I’d give them a better chance, but they’re going to be down two important players against the Vols.
Junior forward Justin Minaya and sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard will both be absent and didn’t travel with the team. They are already without forward Alanzo Frink who left the team weeks ago for medical reasons. Depth is likely going to become a problem up front in this one. Look for the Vols to take the lead and pull away for a 82-67 kind of win on Wednesday night over the Gamecocks.