USA TODAY Sports
Florida's got a mixed recent history against South Carolina. But the Gators are better than they've been — and South Carolina's worse.
Once, Florida's SEC onslaught established the Gators as a true national title contender, only for the Gators to stumble against South Carolina. But that was in 2006, when the Oh-Fours dropped both their meetings with Renaldo Balkman's bunch on the way to winning Florida's first title.
Florida's fantastic 2012-13 team might be better than those future national champions were. And this South Carolina outfit certainly isn't up to previous standards.
South Carolina sits comfortably in the upper half of the SEC, but its diminutive backcourt of Brenton Williams, Eric Smith, and Bruce Ellington, none over 5'11", is turnover-prone, and R.J. Slawson's superb work on the offensive glass, which has helped the 'Cocks be the fourth-best offensive rebounding team in the country, might be mitigated against the taller, stronger Patric Young and Erik Murphy.
The Gamecocks' best defensive player from 2011-12, meanwhile, was recently cleared to return to practice ... against the Gators, because Damontre Harris transferred from South Carolina to Florida in the offseason.
Florida's unlikely to drop its first SEC contest to the Gamecocks, especially since the Gators are home for the first time in more than a week, and have been even more dominant at home than on the road, throttling Georgia and obliterating Missouri at the O'Dome.