South Carolina (14-15, 5-10) travels into Nashville on a six game (1-7 over the last eight games) losing streak that will place the Gamecocks in a disappointing regular season finish unless they can find a way to upset the Commodores in the regular season finale.
Vanderbilt (23-6, 12-3) is 15-1 at home losing only to the Kentucky Wildcats this season. South Carolina will need a victory in Nashville and a couple of wins in the SEC tournament to extend the season.
Vanderbilt has a size advantage and recorded a severe rebounding advantage in the earlier meeting when Head Coach John Stallings' team out rebounded the Gamecocks 39-24 and shot better than 60 percent, with many of those shots around the basket
South Carolina Head Coach Darrin Horn must find a way to get more post presence and board work to have a chance playing in Memorial Arena on Saturday. South Carolina has been able to win only one game on the road this year in the SEC, which is their lone road victory of the season on a team's home floor.
This game may very well be about pride and resilience as the Gamecocks are on the verge of recording a losing season similar to the final two seasons of former head coach Dave Odom. Those teams finished at 14-16 and 14-18 respectively.
The season, with the loss of Dominique Archie and Mike Holmes, has become a devastating end to the career of Devan Downey, who was hoping to lead his team into the NCAA tournament in his final year. Downey, a candidate for many individual accolades, wanted to end his college career playing in the NCAA tournament, a feat he has never experienced during his journey from Cincinnati to South Carolina after a one year all freshman season with the Bearcats.
Downey has given his entire arsenal of offense in an attempt to carry a team that lacked offensive weapons, but his efforts fell short as the conference season prevailed and teams found ways to neutralize the performance and disruption of Downey's multi-faceted scoring. It appears Devan will have to settle for personal accolades and recognitions for his body of work at South Carolina.
South Carolina will have to rely on a miracle end to the season if it's going to see post season play. A really disappointing situation after a season that started with so much promise.
A former basketball player and coach with over a decade of national experience, who later founded player development programs before expanding his knowledge and experiences to media services and outlets, Duane "The Shot Doctor" Everett can be heard every weekday in Columbia as a host and analyst on ESPN Radio Columbia's "The Zone" on 93.1 FM from 3-6 p.m.
Other entries such as this one can be found on Everett's blog, "The Shot Doctor".
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