Reeling Tigers hope to fend off Gamecocks
South Carolina looked downright atrocious for long stretches of its road contest at Missouri over the weekend. At the end of the day, though, Frank Martin’s squad had done enough to notch a 63-53 win.
Another SEC bottom feeder, LSU, awaits the Gamecocks this evening. Online sports book Bovada.lv thinks the visitors are guaranteed to put together a sharper performance in Baton Rouge, giving them odds of -215 to improve to 18-4 overall. The Bayou Bengals, on the other hand, represent +185 underdogs.
For the better part of the 2016-17 season, No. 19 South Carolina has specialized in focused, clean basketball. Yet that was anything but the case four nights ago. Sindarius Thornwell & Co. committed 14 turnovers and shot only 35 percent from the floor vs. woeful Mizzou. With the exception of the team’s star senior guard, no Gamecock recorded more than 13 points.
LSU (9-11) doesn’t offer a litmus test, per se, but at least coach Johnny Jones boasts a bona fide stud in the backcourt. Sophomore Antonio Blakeney is coming off a 23-point outing against Texas Tech. However, the Florida native also turned his right ankle nearly two-and-a-half weeks ago.
Needless to say, Blakeney must be 100 percent in order for the Tigers to have the slightest chance of competing. But here’s the rub: South Carolina ranks sixth nationally in scoring defense. Blakeney’s contributions notwithstanding, LSU’s dropped seven straight tilts. Expect a blowout at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.