Who: Alabama; 15-5 (10–1) at South Carolina; 5-7 (3-5)
When: 5:30 pm CT, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
Where: Colonial Life Arena; Columbia, SC.
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink)
Alabama and South Carolina both suffered losses in SEC play this past weekend. The Tide lost on the road to the second best team in the league, Missouri, while South Carolina was beaten by 16 at home against Mississippi State. Frank Martin’s teams always play hard and you can never overlook them, even when they have a losing record like this season. The Gamecocks already have a win on the road at Florida and a couple of other really close games against quality opponents. Alabama will have to come out with the same energy they had at the end of the last game if they want to avoid dropping their second SEC game of the season. South Carolina is not a good offensive team, and that does not bode well when they are playing against one of the best defensive teams in the country in Alabama. Frank Martin’s squad comes in ranking 255th in 3-point %, 235th in shooting %, 222nd in 2-point %, and 321st in free throw % according to TeamRankings. Needless to say, they struggle to shoot the ball. The Gamecocks are going up against a Tide defense that ranks 16th in opponent shooting efficiency, and 15th in opponent effective FG%. That alone should tell you the Gamecocks will likely struggle on Tuesday night. Swap sides of the ball and it does not get much better for South Carolina. They come in giving up 75.5 PPG and not defending well in really any category. One statistic that stands out: they allow opponents to shoot 34.2% from 3 which ranks them 208th defensively. If they defended like that against Alabama, it is going to be a long night. Nate Oats’ guys come in averaging 79.1 PPG and are shooting 35.5% from 3. A couple of positives and key areas to watch for South Carolina if they are going to have any chance at winning this game is how well they rebound the ball offensively and if they can get a few steals and get some points off of it. South Carolina comes in ranked 14th in offensive rebound % and 39th in steals per game. One other thing that could really help South Carolina is if Herbert Jones is out of this game due to injury. That will be something to monitor leading up to game time.
South Carolina Players to Watch:
G AJ Lawson (17.3 PPG, 1.6 APG, 4 RPG)
G Jermaine Couisnard (11.2 PPG, 3.8 APG, 3 RPG)
F Justin Minaya (7.8 PPG, 2 APG, 6.7 RPG)
South Carolina will come out playing hard and it may be a close game going into the half, but the Gamecocks do not have enough offensive firepower to keep up with Alabama. Petty and Shackelford will shoot well enough to lead Alabama to a 10 point win.
South Carolina- 70
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