Who: Florida (16-8, 7-4 SEC) at South Carolina (13-11, 4-7)
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Colonial Life Arena
KenPom prediction: Florida 72, South Carolina 71
Radio: 107.5 The Game in Columbia area
Series: Florida leads, 44-26
Last meeting: Jan. 24, 2018 – South Carolina won, 77-72
Streak: South Carolina’s won four of the last five meetings
Coach: Mike White (165-72 in seven seasons overall; Third season at Florida – 64-32). White is 1-4 against South Carolina.
Projected starters: G Chris Chiozza (11.9 ppg), G KeVaughn Allen (11.3), F Keith Stone (8.5), F Egor Koulechov (14.2), C Kevarrius Hayes (5.3)
Last game: Beat LSU 73-64 on Wednesday at home
Notes: The Gators snapped a two-game losing streak with the win over LSU. . … As it was prior to the first USC game, Florida enters last in the SEC in 3-point defense. Gator opponents are shooting 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. … Chiozza has scored just seven points (3 of 14 shooting) over UF’s last two games. He still leads the SEC in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.
Coach: Frank Martin (226-139 in 11 seasons overall; Sixth season at USC — 109-85). Martin is 4-5 against Florida.
Projected starters: G Hassani Gravett (7.3); G Evan Hinson (3.3); G Justin Minaya (8.8); F Chris Silva (14.5); F Maik Kotsar (8.1)
Last game: Lost to Arkansas 81-65 on Tuesday in Fayetteville
Notes: The Gamecocks are seeking to avoid their first five-game losing streak since January 2014. Since beating the Gators on Jan. 24, they’re 0-4, losing games by an average of 12.3 points. … Wes Myers, USC’s starting point guard from Dec. 31-Feb. 3, has averaged just 11 minutes the last two games. Since scoring 22 against Florida, he’s averaging just 3.8 points a contest. … USC has allowed three straight opponents to score 80 or more points for the first time in the Martin era.
1. Stopping the skid
The last time South Carolina was in CLA, it hung with Texas Tech – now the nation’s seventh-ranked team – for the better part of 40 minutes. The effort, though it came in a loss, was encouraging enough to think the Gamecocks would move forward in NCAA Tournament discussion.
Such talk has ceased the last week and a half as losses have piled up. Perhaps seeing Florida will cure all ills. USC will be seeking its first regular season sweep of the Gators since 2006.
2. Return to Dominant Silva?
Florida’s poor perimeter defense in the first matchup helped the Gamecocks make 11 3-pointers. After a while, it allowed the lane to open for a suddenly single-covered Silva. The 6-foot-9 forward responded by scoring 11 of his 18 points over the final 11:50.
USC could use a return from Silva, who’s made connected on just four of his last 21 field goal attempts. His last double-double came against the Gators.
3. Point guard play
Myers, with his best performance in a USC uniform, won the PG battle with Chiozza on Jan. 24. The good play hasn’t kept up since, though, and Gravett has now resumed his role as Carolina’s starting conductor.
The inconsistency at that position was especially problematic against Arkansas on Tuesday. Up next is Florida and Chiozza, who remains among the most polished of any PGs in the SEC.