Preview: South Carolina at Tennessee
Tennessee puts its No. 1 ranking – and its program-record 18-game winning streak – on the line when it hosts South Carolina for an SEC matchup on Wednesday. The Volunteers have matched the best start to conference play in school history by winning their first 10 SEC games, including eight by double digits.
That includes a 92-70 rout of the Gamecocks at South Carolina on Jan. 29 in which Tennessee shot 56.3 percent. The Gamecocks have been much better defensively in their three games since and held Arkansas to 38.6 percent from the field in a 77-65 home win on Saturday. South Carolina remains one of the biggest surprises in SEC play, sitting fourth in the league standings after a disappointing non-conference slate. The Vols have won 22 straight at home dating to last season, the second-longest active streak in the nation.
TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (12-11, 7-3 SEC): Coach Frank Martin’s teams typically are known for their defensive prowess, but this year’s squad has broken the mold a bit and ranks higher in offensive efficiency than defensive efficiency. The Gamecocks have developed a strong one-two punch at the offensive end with Chris Silva (13.7 points, seven rebounds) and freshman guard A.J. Lawson (13.7 points). Hassani Gravett (10.7 points) also has emerged as a scoring threat, shooting 40 percent from 3-point range.
ABOUT TENNESSEE (22-1, 10-0): The Vols are one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country and shoot 51.6 percent from the field, which ranks second in the nation. They also limit their mistakes as their 10.6 turnovers per game are the fewest in the SEC, which is a testament to point guard Jordan Bone (13.3 points, 6.6 assists). Bone has plenty with which to work, including star forward Grant Williams (19.9 points, 7.3 rebounds) and versatile swingman Admiral Schofield (16.5, 6.3).
1. Tennessee has scored 40 or more points in the paint in 14 games this season, including five of its last seven.
2. South Carolina is 1-13 all-time against top-ranked teams, with the win coming at home against Kentucky in 2010.
3. The Vols are 16-0 when they shoot 50 percent or better from the field.