Tennessee survived their first week as the No. 1 team in college basketball, though they had an extremely close call against Vanderbilt on the road in their first game as the top-ranked team. Now, the Vols will go back on the road to defend their No. 1 ranking against an SEC opponent.
The No. 1 Vols (18-1, 6-0 SEC) travel to Columbia, South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks (10-9, 5-1 SEC) on Tuesday night. Tennessee has won two-straight games against the Gamecocks, but South Carolina has won four of the last seven meetings between the two teams.
Tennessee is currently riding a 14-game winning streak, the second-longest winning streak in school history. South Carolina is coming off a road loss to a bad Oklahoma State team on Saturday, but they had won five of their last six games before that.
South Carolina started off the 2018-19 season on a rough note. The Gamecocks were 5-7 before entering SEC play, and they had lost to the likes of Wofford, Stony Brook, and Wyoming.
But once the Gamecocks started their conference schedule, they found their groove.
Frank Martin’s squad won their first four SEC games before falling in a blowout to LSU on the road. They responded after that loss by beating No. 16 Auburn at home, then they lost to Oklahoma State. On the whole, South Carolina is 5-1 in SEC play and have two wins over ranked opponents (No. 14 Mississippi State and No. 16 Auburn).
Seniors Chris Silva and Hassani Gravett lead the way for South Carolina, and freshman A.J. Lawson is a big contributor as well. Silva averages 14 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in SEC play and 13.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game overall.
The Gamecocks are one of the few teams that can match the girth and size of the Vols. Silva measures in at 6-foot-9, 205 pounds, Malik Kotsar is 6-foot-10, 245 pounds, and Felipe Haase is 6-foot-9, 249 pounds. All three of those players average over 22 minutes per game
Tennessee forward Grant Williams is coming off a strong week of play. He was awarded the SEC Player of the Week after notching a new career-high against Vanderbilt on Wednesday when he totaled 43 points and was a perfect 23-of-23 from the free throw line. He averaged 31 points, 5.5 rebounds, three assists, and 2.5 blocks in UT’s two wins last week.
Here’s everything you need to know about today’s match-up. And if you can’t make it to the game, here’s how you can watch and listen to the Tennessee vs. South Carolina game.
Tip-Off: 6:30 Eastern, January 29th, Colonial Life Arena (Columbia, SC)
TV: SEC Network
Streaming Online: WatchESPN.com or ESPN app
Radio: Vol Network (99.1 FM or 990 AM in Knoxville/surrounding areas)
Line: Tennessee (-8.5)