South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Missouri Tigers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 27th 2024

South Carolina might be one victory away from cracking the Top 25 for the first time since that famous 2016-17 season when the Gamecocks reached the Final Four.

Riding a huge wave of momentum after upsetting No. 6 Kentucky, the Gamecocks will try to continue their surprising success when they face Missouri on Saturday afternoon in Southeastern Conference play in Columbia, S.C.

South Carolina (16-3, 4-2 SEC) pulverized Kentucky 79-62, holding the nation’s leading scoring team to 29 points below its previous season average.

It also marked the highest-ranked team the Gamecocks have beaten at home since defeating a top-ranked Kentucky team 68-62 on Jan. 26, 2010. That bunch of Wildcats included stars John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.

Confidence is high with the Gamecocks winning nine of their last 11 under second-year coach Lamont Paris. The Gamecocks are also creating a homecourt advantage; the school was fined $100,000 by the SEC for students and fans rushing the court after the win over Kentucky.

“I wasn’t gonna tell them not to storm the court, I’ll tell you that,” Paris said about when he noticed the court storming was about to occur.

“They go to school, these students, this is part of the whole experience for them. This is part of the reason why some of them came to a university like this. Could you imagine telling them not to go out there and enjoy that experience? They were running around and I saw videos later. They were jumping in a pond we have on campus. How fun to be them? Really fun.”

Ta’Lon Cooper scored 20 points and Jacobi Wright made four 3-pointers and scored 14 against Kentucky.

Missouri (8-11, 0-6) has dropped six straight games after falling 63-57 to host Texas A&M on Tuesday.

The Tigers lost despite holding the Aggies to 28.8 percent from the field.

“We put ourselves in a good position defensively, but we’ve got to go back, regroup, and we have a tough road game this weekend against South Carolina,” Missouri coach Dennis Gates said.

Sean East II scored 17 points against Texas A&M and Tamar Bates added 16. Bates has scored in double digits in nine straight games.

While the Aggies shot poorly from the field, they sank 27 of 37 from the free-throw line, while the Tigers made 7 of 10.

“Last game, it definitely was the free-throw line,” Missouri’s Jordan Butler said of the difference. “They shot 37 free throws; we shot 10, so that was a big difference, especially against A&M.”

South Carolina won the first meeting, 71-69 in overtime on Jan. 13 at Missouri.

–Field Level Media

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