South Carolina certainly isn’t lacking in confidence as they head into their match-up with No. 1 Tennessee on Tuesday night in Columbia.
The Gamecocks (10-9, 5-1 SEC) got off to a rough start in basketball this year, dropping seven of their first 12 games in non-conference play. And South Carolina wasn’t losing to powerhouses in college basketball either; their losses were mostly against teams like Wofford, Wyoming, and Stony Brook.
But since South Carolina has entered SEC play, they’ve been a different team.
South Carolina started off conference play with four-straight victories before losing in a blowout on the road against LSU. They’re now 5-1 against SEC competition, and they own two wins over ranked opponents in No. 14 Mississippi State and No. 16 Auburn.
Now, they’re hoping to add a third ranked opponent to their list of victories when No. 1 Tennessee (18-1, 6-0) comes to town.
The Gamecocks have already sold out Tuesday night’s match-up against the Vols, and one of their more prominent recruits in football is hyping up the contest.
Ryan Hilinski is a four-star quarterback and top-100 overall prospect who signed with the Gamecocks in the 2019 recruiting class in football. He’s already enrolled at South Carolina, and he’s already becoming a fan favorite before he’s even set foot on the football field. He was featured in a video on Twitter asking Gamecock fans to participate in a “blackout” on Tuesday night, claiming that South Carolina will “bury” the Vols and adding that “you wear black to a funeral.”
🚨 Special message for The Cockpit 🚨 @ryan_hilinski “We’re about to bury the number one team in the nation… and you wear BLACK to a funeral!”
— The Cockpit (@TheCockpitSC) January 27, 2019
Tennessee is currently riding a 14-game winning streak on the season, and they’ve beaten South Carolina two-straight times. The Gamecocks have won two of the last three contests in Columbia when these two teams have met, however. And the Gamecocks hold a 16-15 edge all-time in Columbia.
But overall, the Vols have mostly dominated South Carolina in basketball.
The Vols own a 44-27 all-time record against South Carolina in men’s basketball, and that includes a 34-23 mark since South Carolina joined the SEC. At one point, Tennessee had beaten the Gamecocks 15-straight times starting in January of 2008 through January of 2015.
No. 1 Tennessee and South Carolina will tip-off at 6:30 PM Eastern on Tuesday, January 29th.