No. 23 South Carolina at Missouri
WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia
TV/RADIO: SEC Network; KMBZ (98.1 FM)
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P No. Missouri Ht. Yr. PPG
F 21 Jordan Barnett 6-7 Jr. 12.5
F 24 Kevin Puryear 6-7 So. 11.8
F 25 Russell Woods 6-8 Sr. 7.7
G 11 K.J. Walton 6-3 So. 6.5
G 15 Jordan Geist 6-2 So. 7.1
P No. South Carolina Ht. Yr. PPG
F 21 Malik Kotsar 6-10 Fr. 7.2
F 30 Chris Silva 6-9 So. 9.8
G 0 Sindarius Thornwell 6-5 Sr. 19.6
G 10 Duane Notice 6-2 Sr. 10.0
G 15 P.J. Dozier 6-6 So. 13.9
ABOUT MISSOURI (5-14, 0-7 SEC): The Tigers have lost 11 straight games, which is tied for the fourth-longest losing streak in program history, and 12 in row in Southeastern Conference play, which is the second-longest conference losing streak in program history. Mizzou’s winless start through seven conference games is the worst since a 0-11 start to Big Eight play under Bob Vanatta during the 1965-66 season. Turning that around won’t be easy against South Carolina, which is 11-4 against teams in the kenpom.com top 100. Of course, third-year coach Kim Anderson’s squad did knock off the Gamecocks last season in Columbia, S.C., for arguably the best win of his tenure. After back-to-back sluggish performance, junior forward Jordan Barnett, who averaged only 9.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in the previous two games, provided a spark Wednesday at Mississippi State with 18 points and eight boards. He’ll need to continue that kind of production for the Tigers to have another shot at an upset.
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (16-4, 6-1 SEC): During SEC play, the Gamecocks are 2-1 on the road with wins at Georgia and Tennessee followed by a loss last Saturday at Kentucky. Fifth-year coach Frank Martin, who went 117-54 in five seasons at Kansas State from 2007-12, has South Carolina well-positioned for the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004. Leading scorer Sindarius Thornwell, who ranks second in the SEC (behind only Kentucky’s Malik Monk) with a 20.4 scoring average in conference games, makes the Gamecocks go. He was suspended for the final six nonconference games, though if it’s unclear if that was connected to his May arrest for marijuana possession and driving on a suspended license, but South Carolina went 3-3 without Thornwell available. The Gamecocks are 13-1 with the only loss coming at Rupp Arena when he’s in the lineup.