Georgia (14-11) at South Carolina (10-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 1:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) -- Columbia, South Carolina. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: UGA 12-2, South Carolina 8-5. Away Record: UGA 2-6, South Carolina 0-10. Neutral Record: UGA 0-3, South Carolina 2-1. Conference Record: UGA 8-5, South Carolina 3-10. Series Record: Georgia leads, 53-48.
GAME NOTES: The South Carolina Gamecocks return home to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday afternoon to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in SEC action.
Georgia has had simply a modest season overall at 14-11, but it has been very impressive during its SEC schedule, as it sits alone in third place behind only Florida and Kentucky at 8-5. The Bulldogs had been winners of four straight prior to their 67-48 setback at Tennessee on Tuesday, and they are now just 2-6 on the road.
South Carolina found its stride with back-to-back wins last weekend but fell back to its losing ways with a 71-64 defeat at the hands of Arkansas on Wednesday night. The Gamecocks are just 10-16 and tied for last place in the SEC with Mississippi State at 3-10, but they've been solid on their home floor (8-5).
Georgia got the best of South Carolina in Athens back on Jan. 22, 97-76, to extend its lead in the all-time series to 53-48.
The Bulldogs had one of their worst all-around performances of the season in their 19-point loss at Tennessee earlier in the week, as they were outshot from the field, 47.2 percent to 34 percent, and lost both the rebounding (37-30) and turnover (13-8) battles. Pacing the losing effort with Kenny Gaines, who scored 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. J.J. Frazier came off the bench to net 12 points.
On the season, Georgia is just barely able to outproduce its opponents, as it shoots 43.8 percent from the field for 68.9 ppg while allowing 67.5 ppg on just 40.3 percent shooting, and while it is hindered by a -2.6 turnover margin and a poor free-throw percentage (.673), it helps its cause with a +5.1 rebounding margin. Charles Mann leads the modest offensive attack with 13.5 ppg while also handing out 3.0 apg. Gaines is the only other player in double figures with 12.1 ppg, although Nemanja Djurisic (9.4 ppg) and Brandon Morris (9.0 ppg) are on the doorstep.
The Gamecocks went into halftime of their most recent game trailing Arkansas by 11, and while they were able to climb all the way back to tie the score at 55 with 5:12 remaining on a Brenton Williams layup, they were never able to overtake the lead as they ultimately suffered the seven-point loss. While they held the typically-hot-shooting Razorbacks to less than 38 percent field goal efficiency, they drained just 37.3 percent of their tries from the floor themselves while committing a game-high 19 turnovers. Williams was outstanding despite the setback, shooting 11-of-20 from the floor (6-of-13 from beyond the arc) for 29 points.
South Carolina has not been especially impressive on either end of the court this season, as it shoots 42.9 percent from the field for 70.0 ppg while allowing 70.6 ppg on 44 percent shooting. Williams is the top option with 14.2 ppg, having drained 68 3-pointers at a 42.8 percent clip while leading the nation in free-throw percentage at .963. Sindarius Thornwell has been solid during his freshman season, netting 13.7 ppg while swiping more than a steal per contest.
While not much separates these two teams on paper, Georgia has overachieved this season, while South Carolina has fallen flat. Even holding the homecourt advantage, the Gamecocks will be hard-pressed to take down the pesky Bulldogs.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia 68, South Carolina 66
02/22 10:38:08 ET