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Preview: Will A New Vandy Basketball Streak Emerge Against South Carolina?

Vanderbilt shook off a seven-game losing streak by beating Florida on Tuesday. Can they start up a winning streak to call their own when they host 11-10 South Carolina?

Yeah, good luck with that.
Yeah, good luck with that.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt broke a seven game losing streak when they topped Florida at home on Tuesday. They'll return to Memorial Gym on Saturday with every intention of starting a winning streak by beating South Carolina.

Both the Commodores and Gamecocks sit at 2-7 in league play and have been disappointing after solid non-conference starts. Vandy rushed out to an 11-3 record before their January skid left them dangling at the precipice of a .500 record. South Carolina began the year at 10-3 and even notched a win over #16 Iowa State before the SEC schedule dragged them back to earth. Now, the two teams will battle for a chance to avoid Missouri's company in the league's basement.

Frank Martin, now in his third year with the Gamecocks, may find his seat warming up if he can't beat Vanderbilt on the road. Carolina has yet to finish with a winning record with Martin as head coach and they've won just 11 conference games in an underwhelming SEC over that span. Combine that with some hit-or-miss recruiting and you've got the recipe for running a high-profile coach out of Columbia.

Will USC find a way to appease their fans with an upset road win on Saturday? Or will Vanderbilt roll their momentum from Tuesday's game into a second straight victory? Let's dig deeper into this SEC East matchup.

The Opponent: The University of South Carolina (11-10, 2-7 SEC)

KenPom Rankings: South Carolina is 48th. Vanderbilt is 60th.

Key Stat40%. The Gamecocks have six rotational players who shoot worse than 40 percent from the floor. Tyrone Johnson leads the way among the team's top three scorers with an inefficient 39.3% rate. Starting big man Michael Carrera has made just 39.1 percent of his shots despite spending much of his time around the rim (bet the over on the number of blocks Damian Jones has on Saturday). South Carolina has talent, but they struggle to score and rank just 258th nationally in terms of field goal shooting.

Matchup to Watch: Damian Jones and James Siakam vs. Whomever. Jones and Siakam ran roughshod over an overmatched Florida frontcourt on Tuesday, combining for 25 points, 18 rebounds, and nine blocks. They'll face a similarly disadvantaged Gamecock team on Saturday, especially if forward/center Demetrius Henry sits out due to a concussion. Michael Carrera is a gritty, sloppy forward - but he's also undersized at a generous 6'5". Laimonas Chatkevicius is bigger and more polished, but he also struggles with foul trouble and consistency. If James and Siakam come out ready to play like they did against Florida then they should be primed for a big game against South Carolina.

Starters and Rotation Players:

Vanderbilt
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Wade Baldwin IV 7.7 3.7 4.4
G - Riley LaChance 12.5 3.2 2.6
F - Jeff Roberson 4.8 3.5 1.1
F - James Siakam 8.5 5.4 0.6
C - Damian Jones 15.1 6.8 0.9
Key Reserves
F - Luke Kornet 8.7 3.7 0.7
G/F - Matthew Fisher-Davis 6.0 2.0 1.0
G - Shelton Mitchell 4.6 2.3 3.6
South Carolina
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Tyrone Johnson 10.0 3.0 3.4
G - Sindarius Thornwell 11.4 5.4 1.9
G - Duane Notice 11.1 2.8 2.7
F - Laimonas Chatkevicius 8.7 5.0 0.6
F - Michael Carrera 5.8 5.6 0.4
Key Reserves
G - Marcus Stroman 4.9 3.0 3.5
F - Demetrius Henry* 6.7 4.1 0.3
F - Mindaugas Kacinas 6.5 5.4 0.4

*Henry may not play due to the lingering effects of a concussion he sustained back in January.