The Georgia Bulldogs (12-12, 3-7 SEC) travel to Columbia, S.C. Wednesday to play the South Carolina Gamecocks (9-15, 1-9 SEC) in Southeastern Conference basketball action. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on CSS. Matt Stewart and Nate Ross will have the television call.
Wednesday's meeting will be the first of two between these SEC East foes in a 17 day span. Georgia will enter the game on the coattails of a 2-game winning streak after beating Arkansas and Mississippi State last week. South Carolina has lost five straight after beating Alabama on Jan. 25.
Georgia's success last week can be attributed in part to better shooting, which allowed the 'Dawgs to put more points on the scoreboard than at any point during their SEC play. Georgia's 81 points against Arkansas and 70 against Mississippi State were dramatically higher than the 56.25 point average in their first eight SEC games.
Gerald Robinson scored a career-high 27 points and followed that with a 13-point performance while Kentavius Caldwell-Pope scored 18 and 20 points, respectively to help Georgia increase its team scoring average.
South Carolina may look like an easy mark, but the Gamecocks know that their record over the last five games is a result of an incredibly brutal schedule. South Carolina has played five games in the last two and half weeks, four of which were on the road and the lone home game was against top-ranked Kentucky.
The Gamecocks play their remaining six games mostly at the friendly confines of Colonial Life Arena with four of six at home.
What to Watch
Georgia doesn't turn the ball over much at all. At 10.3 turnovers per game, the Bulldogs lead the SEC with the fewest turnovers per contest and rank fourth nationally. Already this season Georgia has recorded 11 games with less than 10 turnovers and against Mississippi State last week had just four, which is the teams best mark since 1979.
I mentioned earlier that Georgia has greatly improved its scoring output over its last two games. Here are some expanded stats: The 'Dawgs shot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc in both wins last week. Prior to that their 3-point field-goal percentage was 31.7 percent. They also out-rebounded their opponents by a combined total of plus 30 last week.
South Carolina typically lives or dies on the success of Malik Cooke. The senior forward leads the Gamecocks in scoring, average, field-goal attempts, free-throw attempts, steals and minutes played. In all but two of South Carolina's win Cooke reached double digits in scoring.
When Georgia gets inside the paint, watch for South Carolina's keen ability to block shots. The Gamecocks rank fifth in the SEC with 5.0 blocks per game and No. 30 in the country. Damontre Harris leads the team with 54 blocks this season.
Georgia is looking to become just the fifth team in SEC play to win back-to-back-to-back games. Only Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt have won three games in a row in SEC play this season.
For the first time this season, Georgia's RPI is below 100. The Bulldogs' RPI is 94.
South Carolina and Georgia rank 11th and 12th in the SEC in scoring, respectively. The Gamecocks rank 10th and the 'Dawgs seventh in defense during SEC play.
South Carolina senior Malik Cooke needs 29 points to reach 1,000 for his career. His season high is 24 against South Carolina-Upstate.
The Gamecocks need to get to the charity stripe more frequently. In its last five games, South Carolina is averaging just 15.2 trips to the free-throw line while its opponents are going 23.4 times per game.