Florida vs. South Carolina Prediction, Game Preview

    Florida vs. South Carolina prediction and game preview. The Gators look to extend their winning streak to nine with a victory over the visiting Gamecocks on Tuesday night.

    February 20, 2017

    Florida vs. South Carolina prediction and game preview. The Gators look to extend their winning streak to nine with a victory over the visiting Gamecocks on Tuesday night.

    Florida vs. South Carolina Game Preview

    When: Tuesday, Feb. 21 – 7 p.m. ET
    Where: O’Connell Center, Gainesville, FL
    TV Broadcast: ESPN

    No one said Florida would have an easy time winning without big man John Egbunu, who is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. That was clear Saturday, as the Gators shot a paltry 38.5 percent in a grind-it-out 57-52 victory at Mississippi State. But their depth is what’s going to pull the Gators through, and that was evident with seven players registering at least 22 minutes against the Bulldogs.

    Unfortunately for Florida, that approach didn’t help it during the first meeting with South Carolina back on Jan. 18. Nine players saw at least 11 minutes, but no one had a particularly strong game as the Gators (22-5, 12-2 SEC) shot a season-worst 35.2 percent in a 57-53 road defeat. They went 0 for 17 from the 3-point line, ending an 850-game streak of hitting at least one from long range that was the longest in the nation.

    The Gamecocks (20-7, 10-4) shot even worse in that contest, hitting just 29.4 percent from the field. But Sindarius Thornwell went 5 of 11 from the floor and 9 of 13 from the free throw line for 20 points to provide a boost. Now they need to find a way to get back on track.

    South Carolina has dropped three of its last four following back-to-back losses to Arkansas and Vanderbilt, which scored a 71-62 victory Saturday in Columbia. Thornwell (21 points), PJ Dozier (15) and Chris Silva (14) had strong efforts, but the Gamecocks were outscored by 12 in the second half and fell out of this week’s AP Top 25.

    Florida Wins If …

    … Kevarrius Hayes and Devin Robinson control the paint. The duo had 10 rebounds apiece while Hayes blocked four shots and Robinson swatted two against Mississippi State. Hayes’ minutes increased with Egbubu out and he’ll have to continue taking advantage of the extra time. He had two rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench as Florida lost the rebounding battle in the first meeting, 41-37. South Carolina will counter with Silva and Malik Kotsar down low.

    South Carolina Wins If …

    … Someone other than Thornwell steps up. The Gamecocks got away with that in the first meeting, but they’ve struggled lately despite Thornwell averaging 30 points per game over the last four, including a 44-point effort against Arkansas. Sure, the SEC’s second-leading scorer is going to get his points and take the majority of the shots, but the fact remains that he’s going to need his teammates’ help, especially against a talented Florida team out for revenge.

    Matchup To Watch

    Thornwell vs. Florida’s guards

    Canyon Berry offers the best matchup height-wise, but players like KeVaughn Allen and Kasey Hill will have to try to contain Thornwell also. They didn’t do a very good job of that in the first meeting, and Thornwell is hotter than he’s been all season.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: Florida -10
    Over/Under: No line as of post

    Florida vs. South Carolina Prediction

    Thornwell hits for 25 points, but the Gators get the home crowd going with an early first-half lead that they hold throughout the contest.

    Florida vs. South Carolina final score prediction: Florida 68, South Carolina 60

    MORE: The (Tobacco) Road To The Final Four – ACC’s Blue Bloods Rising


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