The No. 18 Tigers (6-2) will host rival South Carolina on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum. The South Carolina Gamecocks have a rare opportunity on Sunday afternoon to knock off its first top 25 opponent and get a needed win versus Clemson on the hardcourt after beating them on the football turf. If the Gamecocks are able to travel to Littlejohn Coliseum and sneak away with a victory from the No. 18 Clemson Tigers, Carolina will have handed its bitter enemy what could be its worst weeklong span in history.
The Tigers will face a South Carolina (6-1) team that has been short on bodies early in the season, as senior forward Dominique Archie and junior Mike Holmes have recently fallen out of the lineup. Archie, who averages 14.4 points and six rebounds per game, is out indefinitely following a knee sprain. Meanwhile, Holmes, who averages 11 points per game, is out following eye injury earlier in the week after breaking a bone in his face.
Look for Devan Downey, as the two-time All-SEC point guard, to step up as he must to lead this team while others are down with injuries. Devan is averaging 19 points per game to go along with a team-leading 23 assists and 15 steals. Downey will need a similar performance to what he did last year when he posted a career-high 37 points on the Tigers last year, though South Carolina ultimately fell 98-87 in Columbia.
Last season’s loss was the fifth straight for South Carolina against the Tigers, the past four by an average margin of defeat of more than 15 points.
Horn knows how important it is to beat your rival and look for him to do all he can from the sidelines to will his players to the win.
“I was here for only one of those, so it's hard for me to talk about what's happened throughout the past,” Gamecocks coach Darrin Horn told reporters Friday. “That being said, there's no question we recognize that this is an important game to our fans and to people in this state.Wanting to win and doing it are two different things and to get that needed win then Carolina will have to do the following:
“I don't think there's any doubt that we know it’s important, and we want to win it.”
1. Get a Early lead or at least hang tough in the 1st half --- if Carolina can get a early lead it will play mental games with the tigers that recently gave up a 23 point lead in the loss to Illinois. Gamecocks must keep the game close and not get desperate.
2. Strong interior play --- CU lives off interior play, getting easy buckets and 2nd chance points. The Gamecocks will have to play big today and limit easy baskets by boxing out and rotating over to help.
3. Play as a unit --- Devan will get points but others must step up today. The gamecocks must out-hustle CU and do all the small things right today to get a 'W'.
I think Carolina can win this game today with a balanced attack and beating the press. Clemson is still hurting over the last loss and now is the perfect time for the Gamecocks to strike.
'Da Cocks by 6, something like 78-72.