The home team has won the last six in the series. The Gamecocks last win in Knoxville was a 94-60 victory over the Vols on Jan. 23, 2002. If USC defeats Tennessee on Wednesday, it will be the first sweep for the Gamecocks against the Vols since the 2001-02 season. Since joining the SEC, USC has swept the series five times (1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97 and 2001-02).
Both teams are coming off road losses: UT lost 60-58 at Ole Miss, while USC lost 87-68 at No. 16 Alabama. South Carolina's loss at Alabama was its largest loss this season and the biggest loss since March 3rd, 2004 when No. 9 Kentucky defeated USC, 84-65, on Senior Day.
The Gamecocks enter the Tennessee game with a 14-9 record overall and a 6-6 mark in conference play. Home court advantage had helped out the Gamecocks prior to the Auburn loss, but USC has lost just two at home this year (Clemson and Auburn), collecting an 12-2 record at the Colonial Center this season.
The Gamecocks are 5-1 at the Colonial Center this season in SEC games, including its 73-61 win over No. 3 Kentucky. Last year Carolina was 5-3 in SEC play at home with the three losses coming against No. 14 Florida, No. 6 Kentucky and No. 6 Mississippi State.
On the road, the Gamecocks have played teams close (until the Alabama game, where USC fell by 19), but have only one road win to seven losses. Five of the six losses have been by eight points or less, while four of the six have been by four or less. Five of the seven teams have been nationally ranked with the five being ranked in the Top 17.
Don't Say Anything But ...
USC is 8-0 this season following a loss. Four of the wins after the loss were decided by five points or less (East Carolina 57-53, South Florida 72-70, Tennessee 66-63 and Vanderbilt 68-63) while two others were decided by 20 or more (App. State 91-57, Georgia 74-54).
USC was 6-4 last season following a loss.
UT will play its fourth home game in its last five outings when USC visits Thompson-Boling Arena. The South Carolina game concludes a stretch where the Vols play four of five games at home. Following Wednesday's game, UT will hit the road for consecutive games against Arkansas (Feb. 26) and Kentucky (March 2) before wrapping up the regular season slate at home against Georgia (March 5).
UT is coming off a 58-60 loss at Ole Miss Feb. 19. The Vols, who committed a season-high 22 turnovers, had a chance to win the game but Dane Bradshaw's 3-pointer bounced off the rim with less than a second left. Chris Lofton led UT with 17 points while C.J. Watson added 16 points.
Two games after Brandon Crump returned to the Vols' lineup after missing four games with an ankle injury, Scooter McFadgon missed the Ole Miss game with a leg injury. McFadgon's status is listed as day-to-day.
McFadgon leads the Vols with 14.1 points per game. Watson is second with 12.6 points per game on the season while leading the squad with 13.5 points in SEC games. The junior guard also ranks among the SEC leaders with 4.7 assists. Lofton is third on the squad with 11.9 points while leading the SEC and ranking seventh nationally with his 47.5 percent 3-point shooting.
Could be No. 1 by Vanderbilt
Carlos Powell is leading the team in points (15.2) and rebounds (6.4) per game. He led the team in both categories last year as well. The last player to lead in these two categories in consecutive years was Jimmy Foster when he led the team three years in a row 1981-82, 1982-83 and 1983-84. He is the only player to do it three consecutive years. Art Whisnant (1960-61 and 1961-62) and Joe Smith (1952-53 and 1953-54) are the only other players to accomplish that feat two straight years.
Powell has 128 career steals, good enough for ninth on the all-time career steals list.
The Western Carolina game was senior Carlos Powell's 100th of his career as he has now played in 122 career games - tied for No. 4 on the USC career list. The Tennessee game would be his 123rd in a Gamecock uniform - tying him at No. 2 on the career list with BJ McKie and Aaron Lucas. The record for career games played in at USC is 125 by Boynton.
Powell is No. 15 on the career points scored list with 1,351 points. To move to No. 10 he needs 1,439 points (Jo Jo English). BJ McKie holds the record for most points scored at 2,119.
Against UT on Jan. 15, he scored at least 20 points (20) for the eighth time in his career (career high: 23 points at Clemson last season). He had the sixth double-double of his career when he collected 13 points and 10 rebounds at No. 2 Kansas, the seventh vs. SCSU two games later when he collected 10 points and 11 rebounds against the Bulldogs and then his eighth career double-double vs. Auburn.
After-thoughts from Alabama
With Alabama shooting the ball 50.9% from the floor, the Gamecocks have allowed four opponents this season to shoot better than 50% from the field. USC is 1-3 when allowing their opponents to hit more than half of their shots (USF, No. 17 Pittsburgh, LSU and No. 16 Alabama)
The Gamecocks committed only eight turnovers against the Crimson Tide on Saturday. The eight was the lowest total for the Gamecocks this season and it marked the third time this season that USC had less than 10 turnovers in a game. Carolina is 1-2 in those three games (Appalachian State, LSU and Alabama).
Shooting 40% or better
USC has shot 40% or better from the field in 15 straight games which include seven straight for USC shooting better than 50% from the floor.
Kinsey then Gonner
Tarence Kinsey hit a career-best five three pointers in the UK win. It's the most threes a Gamecock has had since then-senior captain Mike Boynton, Jr. hit six for USC in the 86-64 win over LSU in the SEC Tournament (March 12, 2004). Josh Gonner followed up Kinsey's five three pointers vs. UK by hitting five of his own (5-8) at No. 16 Alabama on Saturday. It was a career high for Gonner, who tallied 15 points vs. the Tide.
Already hitting 27 three-pointers this season, Kinsey must have worked on shooting beyond the arc last summer. Kinsey is 27 of 70 (38.6 %) beyond the three point line this year. Kinsey made just one three pointer his freshman year (1-14, .07.1%) and was 21-66 his sophomore year (31.8%).
Brandon Wallace blocked one Alabama shot. It is the 14th time this season he has blocked at least one shot in a game. He has 71 career blocks (36 this year, 35 last year). He should easily enter the top 10 in career blocks during his career as he needs five for the No. 10 career slot (76, Jimmy Graziano, 1977-80). The career leader might be a bit tougher. It's 235 blocked shots by Danny Traylor (1971-73).
He had four blocks against Arkansas; it was the second time this season he has had 4 blocks in a game (East Carolina, 12-20-04).
South Carolina travels to Knoxville Wednesday
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