• WHEN/WHERE: 3 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena
• TV/RADI O: KSMO (Ch. 62); KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)
• ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (7-11, 0-5 SEC) : It might be tempting to look at the Gamecocks’ winless SEC record, which includes three road losses by an average of 15 points, and pencil in a victory for the Tigers. But a young South Carolina squad that starts three freshmen has taken LSU, which just beat Missouri, and Mississippi to the wire. The Gamecocks don’t shoot a lot of three-pointers, but former Kansas State coach Frank Martin’s squad has been efficient from long range, ranking second in the SEC in three-point shooting (36.9 percent). Missouri is second in the SEC in three-point defense (29.3 percent).
• ABOUT MISSOURI (14-4, 2-3 SEC): If the recent patterns hold, Missouri is due for a win. Beginning with a victory against Long Beach State in the nonconference finale, the Tigers have alternated wins and losses during the last six games. Missouri is averaging fewer than 70 points per game in conference play, but should feast against a South Carolina team that has coughed up a league-worst 78.4 points per game since SEC play started. Juniors Jabari Brown, who is the SEC’s leading scorer in conference play, and Jordan Clarkson have reached double figures in all 18 games, but the Tigers might be wise to use the game to build confidence among their struggling frontcourt players.
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• BOTTOM LINE: South Carolina is the only team in the SEC that has been outscored overall on the season. The Gamecocks are also one of two SEC teams without a conference win, along with Auburn. Of course, if Missouri has proven anything during a roller-coaster start to conference play, it’s that the Tigers aren’t good enough to simply show up and expect a victory. Missouri must avoid getting into a sloppy game with South Carolina, which is among the SEC’s top teams at forcing turnovers but also averages 14.7 turnovers per game.
|F||3||Johnathan Williams III||6-9||Fr.||6.9|