Contender Or Pretender? A Look Ahead To What’s On The Line For Gamecocks Men’s Basketball In Tonight’s Game Against Mississippi State

Once again, the Gamecocks have found themselves with momentum on their side heading into the tail end of the Season.

In Carolina’s big win over LSU, the Gamecocks stepped up defensively in the last minute of play to cement their 3rd straight win in SEC play. So far, this win for the Gamecocks is the most significant of the season, as LSU was ranked in the top 25 just over a week ago.

On the contrary, LSU has declined as a team since mid January as they have fallen from #13 all the way to unranked after several painful losses. Therefore, it is still really unknown if South Carolina has made a true late turnaround on their season, or if they have just taken advantage of several weaker opponents.

This concern brings up the question, will the Gamecocks carry momentum with them through the end of the regular season or will they take a hard fall once again? 

Throughout the season, Carolina has seemed to collapse after gaining any sort of momentum. This incident began earlier in the season with a lost to Coastal, and it occurred again late in January after three straight SEC wins (Georgia, Vandy, A&M).

One could argue that it also occurred as the Gamecocks lost to Clemson earlier this season; however, Carolina was down four starters entering the contest.

Now the Gamecocks find themselves with three straight wins once again, as they will take on Mississippi State Wednesday night. Mississippi State is the same team the ended Carolina’s streak earlier this month as they dominated the Gamecocks in the second half in Starkville.

Does this indicate a similar fate for South Carolina? 

Fortunately for the Gamecocks, the odds are stacked against the Bulldogs. Mississippi State has won only two of their last 5 games. Both wins came against Missouri, a team who is .370 on the season.

The Bulldogs earned their first road win Sunday night against the tigers, as they defeated Missouri by only two points.

Overall, Mississippi State has been a rather atrocious team on the road, while the Gamecocks hold a respectable 10-4 record at home. Therefore, on paper, the Gamecocks appear to be the favored team. 

Do I believe a win Wednesday night will help prove the Gamecocks as a powerful SEC opponent (upper middle tier)? Not quite, but a loss will certainly prove otherwise.

Mississippi State is simply not a good basketball team on the road. A loss on Wednesday will hurt South Carolina’s momentum for the remainder of the season and will definitely hurt their odds at any type of post season play.

If the game was in Starkville we would have a completely different story on our hands. 

Even before South Carolina’s recent winning streak, I had them beating Mississippi State because they’ve got them on their home court.

Even though South Carolina has been notorious this season for blowing momentum, I have them over the Bulldogs Wednesday night. Give me the boys in Garnet getting a big 65-58 win.

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