South Carolina (14-10, 5-5) travels to Fayetteville to meet the Arkansas Razorbacks (13-12, 6-4) with both teams coming off close losses on Saturday. The Gamecocks lost to Georgia in Athens 66-61 and the Razorbacks lost in Tuscaloosa 73-68. The teams are very familiar in size and playing style. The Razorbacks after a slow start find themselves atop the SEC West following a recent 5 game winning streak that ended with the loss to Alabama this past weekend. Arkansas is not as protective of its home arena as South Carolina carrying a 11-7 home record, but they are 4-1 at home since entering conference play.
Downey's ability to create problems for any team is well documented, but his recent 18-60 (26.7%) shooting would be considered a concern by most, but Coach Horn does not appear to be concerned over the percentages, just the effort and game ending results. Horn will be satisfied to challenge the home court advantage by Pelphrey's team by staying close and having a chance to take control late and win. Pelphrey on the other hand will try to keep Downey out of the paint, challenge the post players and make South Carolina win or die by the long ball. With Downey, expect Pelphrey to use the same philosophy of recent coaches, to make Downey work to get near the basket and force him well off the arc to score from beyond the imaginary NBA 3-point line.
Likewise, recent trends have watched South Carolina opponents' turnovers come way down, allowing less transition buckets and limiting extra possessions, which generally lead to more shots, something the Gamecocks will need if they are going to rely on the normal scoring trend to win in Arkansas. Sam Muldrow will need to get into the half court offense in this game to increase the Gamecock chances of winning, unless Lakeem Jackson can generate substantial offense in transition. If the Razorbacks get hot from the outside with its' three guard offense, this could be a long night for the Gamecocks, because the Arkansas post is an adequate transition and rebounding group that can score in the post in isolation.