Florida (14-3, 5-0) at South Carolina (14-3, 4-0)
When: Wednesday, January 18th 2017
Where: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, SC
Time: 6:30 ET | TV: SEC Network
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Two undefeated SEC teams will square off on Wednesday night as the South Carolina Gamecocks host the Florida Gators at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina will actually get two undefeated teams this week in Florida and Kentucky on Saturday. The Gamecocks rely on their intense defensive pressure under head coach Frank Martin, and rank in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense (59.8 points per game), field-goal defense (36.4 percent) and 3-point defense (27.9 percent). Starting guards Sindarius Thornwell (18 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists), PJ Dozier (14.9 points) and Duane Notice (9.9) are the team’s top three scorers. Thornwell is averaging 4.3 steals in SEC play and has recorded at least two in every league game. Big man Chris Silva (9.7 points, 6.3 rebounds) recorded a career-high 16 points and matched his personal best with 11 rebounds in Saturday’s 67-56 win over Ole Miss, while freshman reserve Rakym Felder (6.1 points) has scored in double figures in four of his last six games.
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The Gators have run off seven consecutive victories after holding off visiting Georgia for an 80-76 overtime victory on Saturday behind 27 points from reserve guard Canyon Berry. Florida’s bench has outscored the opponents’ reserves 92-22 over the last two games, including a 51-5 advantage against the Bulldogs. The Gators have had seven different players lead them in scoring in at least one game this season, including four during their current seven-game winning streak. Berry (12.8 points) is averaging 18.8 points over his last four and freshman forward Keith Stone (5.3) also helped the team in a big way last week, averaging 15.5 over his last two games while going 6-of-7 from 3-point range. The other two key players in Florida’s lineup include guard KeVaughn Allen (13.9 points) and forward Devin Robinson (11.4, 5.1 rebounds). The Gators will host Vanderbilt on Saturday before hitting the road again for two straight including a non-conference battle with Oklahoma.
This is an underrated South Carolina team playing the old Kansas State teams under Martin. I think Florida is going to have a tough time scoring in this one and the Gamecocks will come away with a victory.
Pick: South Carolina -1