South Carolina comes to Gainesville to play Florida tonight as the No. 244 team in KenPom, and with a 1-5 mark in SEC competition.
But that 1 was won by pulling the rug out on Kentucky at Rupp Arena, and the Gamecocks’ No. 1 player is Gregory “G.G.” Jackson, who is fresh off a 30-point outing, and thus the Gators should be at least a little wary about what can happen on the best night for their visiting foes.
For Carolina, that best night has probably already happened. The 71-68 win over Kentucky featured sizzling shooting (11-for-20 from three), ferocious rebounding (15 offensive boards), a star turn from Meechie Johnson (26 points, six assists, six threes) to compliment a fine night from Jackson (16 points on 10 shots), and a Wildcats squad without Jacob Toppin and forced by injury to play Sahvir Wheeler for 40 minutes.
It was a big win for Lamont Paris, in his first year at Carolina after succeeding at Chattanooga; it is the Gamecocks’ only win against a team with a robust pulse since a narrow upset of Clemson way back in November, as they have more often struggled to stop anyone and gotten mostly inefficient offense from Jackson and Johnson.
If Florida brings its usually tenacious defense and some timely shooting, it should handle even a good night from the ‘Cocks.
If Florida plays its worst, well ... there’s always a chance.