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South Carolina

at

Florida

College Basketball Pick

2/21/17

This game couldn't come at a worse time for South Carolina, which is in need of a win. The Gamecocks have lost four of their last five and have to travel to Florida, winners of eight straight, on Tuesday night. Once atop the SEC standings, South Carolina is just in need of a win and getting a sweep of Florida won't be easy.

The Gators led at halftime of that first meeting, but South Carolina came out firing in the second half and that led to a 57-53 home win. But considering how they've played as of late and on the road, this one will present some trouble. John Egbunu is out for Florida, but he wasn't a huge factor in that first game, although not many were for the Gators. They managed just 53 points and while they shot more than 50% from two-point range, went a miserable 0-for-17 from long range. Of course, that won't happen again, which is why South Carolina will have to play much better to have a chance in Gainesville.

The Gamecocks got 20 points out of Sindarius Thornwell, which is the norm, but no one else really produced with them shooting an equally terrible 15-of-51 from the field. And there's a chance this one could be similarly ugly, even if Florida is at home. At Mississippi State over the weekend, the Gators had troubling putting their foot down and kept the Bulldogs around in another ugly 57-52 win. Efficiency wise, these are the two best defenses in the conference, so expecting a blowout may not be smart.

But the only way for the Gamecocks to have a chance at winning or covering will be to get more production from players other than Thornwell. The senior continues to score 20-plus points every night, but his teammates aren't doing enough to get wins. And if this team can't win at Vanderbilt, how will it beat Florida? PJ Dozier and Duane Notice are their next best scorers, but it may come down to what Chris Silva can do down low for South Caroline. Without Egbunu, Silva should get more free looks closer to the hoop than last game and even then he still had 11 points in that first meeting.

The question will be if this Florida offense can figure it out. One night the Gators are dropping 114 points on Auburn and then the next just 57 against Miss. State. And since we already have evidence of Florida struggling against this defense, that's another reason to worry about the Gators. Guys like KeVaughn Allen, Devin Robinson and Kasey Hill are usually good bets to hit their averages, but it's the rest of the team that needs to step up if the Gators want an easy win. Canyon Barry scored 30 points at Auburn, then only seven at Miss. State. The questions are the same for Justin Leon and Chris Chiozza.

Florida has a deep team, but if the role players aren't hitting shots against a good defense, the Gators are average. Yet, with how South Carolina is playing, things may be a little different. Thornwell will get his buckets, it'll depend on if Silva can work in the paint against Kevarrius Hayes. If that happens, the Gamecocks should at least keep this game close, although it could be equally as ugly as the first time these teams played.

Our Pick - Florida by 14

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