South Carolina looks to stay perfect in the SEC when it visits Vanderbilt on Wednesday. The Gamecocks have won four in a row, including their first three SEC contests, while the Commodores are still looking for their first victory in league play after three losses.
South Carolina senior forward Chris Silva leads a balanced offense for coach Frank Martin, averaging 12.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. Freshman forward A.J. Lawson chips in 12.6 points while senior guard Hassani Gravett averages 11.3 points but has upped his average to 17 in league play. Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew's squad is led by 6-10 freshman forward Simisola Shittu, who paces the team in scoring (14.1) and rebounding (8.1). Sophomore guard Saben Lee runs the Commodores' offense, scoring 12.0 points and dishing out 3.6 assists, though Vanderbilt is hoping to find the basket more often in this one after scoring a season-low 47 points in a loss at No. 14 Kentucky on Saturday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network LINE: Check Intertops for the latest line
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (8-7, 3-0 SEC): Silva had 14 points in the Gamecocks' win over Missouri on Sunday, but it was a dominant performance for all that Silva does on the floor. South Carolina outscored the Tigers by 29 points when Silva was on the court, and he finished with four rebounds, four blocks, three steals and two assists in the contest, using his physical style to help foul out Missouri center Jeremiah Tilmon. Martin - always a defensive-minded coach - loves the way Silva protects the rim on the defensive end, allowing his teammates to be more aggressive going for steals and turnovers knowing they have him backing them up.
ABOUT VANDERBILT (9-6, 0-3): The Commodores were a respectable sixth in the SEC in rebounding entering Tuesday, grabbing 38.8 per contest for all games this season. But that average has taken a hit in league play, with the Commodores grabbing 32.3, while opponents are getting 39 rebounds per contest. Part of it could have to do with Vanderbilt's poor shooting in its three SEC games (36.2 percent from the floor, 60.7 percent from the free-throw line), which allows opponents chances at more defensive rebounds, but Drew will need to get his team not just shooting better but battling on the boards stronger if the Commodores are going to start getting some league wins.
1. Gravett was 0-of-6 from the field Sunday but was 12-of-12 from the free-throw line, setting career bests with both totals.
2. Vanderbilt shot 36.2 percent from the field against Kentucky, its second straight game of sub-.400 shooting.
3. The Gamecocks were forcing 13.6 turnovers per game prior to conference play but have upped that average to 17 in SEC contests, leading to 20.7 points per contest.
PREDICTION: South Carolina 78, Vanderbilt 69 Bet Now
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