Mizzou at South Carolina
WHEN/WHERE: 8 p.m. Wednesday at Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, S.C.
TV/RADIO: ESPN2; KMBZ (98.1 FM)
ABOUT MISSOURI (10-3): For Missouri, maybe it’s third time’s the charm. The Tigers struggled against Stephen F. Austin, which runs a disruptive, turnover-heavy defense, and did the same against Illinois, whose coach, Brad Underwood, installed the original system when he coached the Lumberjacks. Underwood worked for years under South Carolina coach Frank Martin, who also runs a similar system. In its last game against Illinois, Missouri lost after nearly coming back from a 20-point deficit and was carried by seniors Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett, who got little help from the rest of the team. That has been a similar case in other close wins. Missouri seemed to get a positive from the point guard position after freshman Blake Harris brought energy and momentum to Missouri in the second half. Harris finished with 10 points and four rebounds. Missouri had over 20 turnovers against both Stephen F. Austin and Illinois and needs to take better care of the basketball if it wants to leave with a win.
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (9-4): What a difference a season makes for Martin’s crew. Gone are P.J. Dozier and Sindarius Thornwell, who keyed the Gamecocks improbable run to the Final Four last spring. The team lost its first conference game to Ole Miss and has also lost some tough games to Clemson and Illinois State. Martin still has some key pieces in Chris Silva, a constant double-double threat and graduate transfer Frank Booker, who brings experience to a much younger team. Freshman Justin Minaya is a shooting threat from behind the arc (37 percent) and Felipe Haase gives the Gamecocks frontcourt depth off the bench. South Carolina point guard Hassani Gravett missed the game against Ole Miss because of a sprained right ankle and is expected to play on Wednesday. He leads the team assists and gives them a veteran presence in the backcourt.