University of Kansas fans showed up en masse Monday at the Ferrell Center, cancelling Baylor's plan for a "white-out" and a chance for a Baylor win.
The out-of-staters chanted "Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk" for the rock-solid front court, which decimated Baylor in a 75-65 victory.
The Jayhawks (18-4, 7-0) had 42 points in the paint, compared with 20 from Baylor (15-7, 3-5). Four of those came in the final three minutes, when the game was already decided.
"Our guys just played better than they did," Kansas head coach Bill Self said. Baylor Lariat
Nobody stormed the floor and very few fans left the Ferrell Center with a smile.
It was nothing like the scene of Baylor’s last “Big Monday” appearance eight years ago.
With Sherron Collins scoring 17 points and freshman Marcus Morris hitting 13, No. 21 Kansas asserted its dominance in the second half to walk away with a 75-65 win over the Bears before 9,028 fans and an ESPN national television audience.
The Bears hoped to pull a repeat of their 85-77 win over the Jayhawks in their only other “Big Monday” appearance in 2001. But the Bears hit just 30.8 percent in the second half as they dropped their fourth straight game to fall to 15-7 overall and 3-5 at the midway point of the Big 12 schedule. Waco Tribune
I personally don’t like the perception that the Big 12 is "down" this season.
Now I’m not arguing that the conference is as good as it was last year when Kansas won the NCAA championship and Texas played its way into the Elite Eight and 10 players were NBA draft-worthy.
But "down" doesn’t apply. There are no real dog programs around anymore, despite the fact that some are struggling to win games. And for the most part, everyone but No. 2 Oklahoma is in some kind of transition.
That would, of course, include the Jayhawks.
Part of the "down" perception comes when people look at the staggering losses Kansas experienced. You know the names ? Brandon Rush, last-game hero Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur and the gang of seven major contributors from that championship season are no longer on the roster.
Yet, the ’Hawks rolled into the Ferrell Center on Monday ranked No. 21, a half-game back of the Sooners and geez, not so bad after all as the separation month of February has arrived.
"I do like where we are right now," KU coach Bill Self said the morning before last night’s tipoff. "I don’t think we’re where we should be."
Self was referring to where he felt his team should be come March. And he has to like even better where his team is right now heading back to Lawrence with the 75-65 Big 12 road win against a team that was supposed to live at a prestige address in the conference’s first division neighborhood but is having problems meeting the mortgage.
And here’s the rub. The younger, least-experienced team took this game over in the second half because it played smarter and with more poise. Presided over by point guard Sherron Collins, KU got a lead and then carefully extended it through a series of clock-draining, well-executed possessions. They had a plan.
"Our guys played older tonight," Self said. "We’re still not as hard and tough as we need to be, but this was a step in the right direction."
The Bears, as experienced as any team in the conference on its home floor, had no plan other than shoot the three or drive. Forward Kevin Rogers went long minutes without touching the ball though he made 6 of 9 shots. He should have had 15.
And with Curtis Jerrells (0-for-7 from the floor) still missing in action and seemingly playing without much emotion, Baylor was without a level head to counter Collins, who scored a game-high 17 points with a game-high six assists.
"Sherron was fabulous," Self said. "And I was really pleased with the way we played the second half. That was as good as we’ve played all year. "I think this is one of the hardest places in the Big 12 to come in and win because of their talent and experience. But we knew we had a chance to come in and play one of the most talented teams in their house and we were most excited to play."
Collins continues to play at an all-conference level and fill the leadership role Self so desperately needed him to do if he was to have any success in a reloading season.
"I was impressed with the way our young guys played," Collins said. "But I can’t be too impressed because that’s what we expect out of our young fellas. We know what potential they’ve got and how well they are learning and how well they’ve bought into coach’s system.
"I like where we are right now and I know we can get better. And we’ve got time to get better."
On the other hand, time is suddenly running awfully fast for a Baylor team that at least seems to be falling farther and farther behind. FW Star-Telegram*
Power forward. That two-word combination seldom seemed accurate for a Kansas University basketball team that for much of this season desperately needed somebody, anybody, to give center Cole Aldrich a helping elbow.
Fatigued forward. Flinching forward. Even finesse forward, but not power forward.
That all changed Monday night inside Baylor University’s strangely not sold-out Ferrell Center, where three men defined the power forward position for Kansas in a mighty impressive 75-65 victory against the talented-but-reeling Bears.
Marcus Morris scored KU’s first eight second-half points, and when Aldrich went to the bench because of his fourth foul with 8:16 left in the game, Markieff Morris and Mario Little cleaned up underneath, doing all the dirty work in Aldrich’s absence.
The three players, close friends off of the court, combined for 34 points and 18 rebounds in 48 minutes.
“They played great,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Markieff went after every ball like a man, and Mario made some key plays for us. He’s just got a natural feel. ... (Marcus) played great. He got off to a terrible start ... but he was able to change it. That’s a sign of guys growing up. I thought he and ’Kieff and Mario, they were all fabulous in the second half.”
If this team continues to improve and contends for a Big 12 title with a roster so inexperienced such a lofty goal didn’t seem realistic, then Big Monday’s 45-37 second half will be looked back upon as the moment it grew muscles. LJW Keegan: Trio puts 'power' in power forward
They do everything together.
Freshman forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris wear the same clothes, eat at the same places and take the same classes. So it’s only appropriate that the Morris twins both compiled breakout games in a 75-65 Kansas victory against Baylor at the Ferrell Center.
“Coach always groups us together and says if one of us plays good, the other plays good and if one of us plays bad that means we both played bad,” Marcus said. “Today, he told us we played awesome.”
Marcus scored 13 points and had six rebounds. Markieff added nine points, nine rebounds and two blocks. More importantly, they combined for 11 points during a 16-7 run at the beginning of the second half that separated the Jayhawks from the Bears.
Markieff made the third three-pointer of his career from the top of the key to cap off the run and put Kansas ahead 43-33. When Baylor coach Scott Drew called a timeout immediately afterward, Marcus ran out on the court to congratulate his brother with a chest bump.
“When they’re getting hyped,” junior guard Sherron Collins said, “there isn’t any limit to what we can do.”
...The Jayhawks ran to the locker room clapping after the first half. Of course they did. Despite trailing for most of the half, Collins tossed in a floater at the buzzer to give Kansas a 30-28 lead.
All five Jayhawk starters scored at least four points in the opening half. But their most impressive accomplishment came on ? where else? ? the defensive end.
Baylor isn’t used to getting off to slow starts. The Bears rank third in the Big 12 Conference in scoring and prefer to push the pace early. Kansas wouldn’t allow it.
The Morris twins were key. Despite Baylor’s lineup of speedy guards, Marcus and Markieff were able to hold their own and contribute to the Jayhawks’ defensive effort.
Then came the second half where Marcus and Markieff pulled Kansas away from Baylor. Together.
“If he’s doing good, I’m going to try to match his intensity,” Markieff said. “I’ll pick up his slack and he’ll pick up my slack. We talk about that.” UDK
A month ago, which would have been more unlikely: The Kansas Jayhawks winning at Baylor to improve to 7-0 in Big 12 play? Or Marcus and Markieff Morris igniting the spark to make it happen?
Back in their native Philadelphia, the Morris twins were viewed as the keys to putting the inner-city basketball scene back on the map. That is, if they chose Villanova. They chose Kansas, of course, and they have looked lost most of the time during their first four months as Jayhawks.
But on Monday night, more than 1,500 miles from Philly inside the Ferrell Center, the Morris twins found their compass during a 75-65 KU victory over the Bears.
Marcus Morris scored the first eight points of the second half and finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Markieff Morris had nine points and nine rebounds and nailed a crucial three-pointer during KU’s early second-half run that gave the Jayhawks their first 10-point lead.
Both said they were just following the orders of KU coach Bill Self.
“When we went to halftime, he pulled me to the side and told me I need to be more aggressive,” Marcus Morris said. “He told me that when I got the ball they really couldn’t guard me. It showed me that he trusts me with the ball actually.”
Markieff said of his big three: “I was open, and Coach allows me to shoot them. I felt really confident. I thought we were on a run, and we needed another big shot.”
...“That’s what we expect out of the young fellas,” KU junior guard Sherron Collins said. “They’re just showing what potential they’ve got, how well they’re learning. Everybody is buying into Coach’s system, and we’re just finding out who we are and getting better day by day. I like where we are, and we could be better. We’ve got time to get better.”
Baylor, a sexy pick to contend for a league title, is looking more and more like a pretender by the day. A year after making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988, the Bears are 15-7 and 3-5 in the league. KU improved to 18-4 overall thanks to more clutch play from Collins, who led the Jayhawks with 17 points and six assists. Collins broke Wayne Simien’s KU record for consecutive free throws made with 35 after making his sixth of the game. Collins then missed his next attempt. His defense against Baylor’s Curtis Jerrells ? four points, no field goals ? was superb.
“Sherron was fabulous,” Self said. “To play 39 minutes and guard like he guarded, yet still control the entire second half …” KC Star*
Whether it’s instinct woven into his DNA or a tiny alarm inside his body, Sherron Collins always knows when the Jayhawks need him.
More than any player in recent Kansas history, Collins senses when he needs to take the game over and then does it without hesitation.
Monday night it came with 5:36 left and Kansas clinging to a 60-55 advantage. Collins dribbled across halfcourt and searched for an outlet pass, but found none.
“They did a good job of denying, so I just kept counting off and stretched the floor,” Collins said. “I knew it was going to go to me. I had to get in the paint and draw a foul.”
Like he did in a similar situation at Nebraska last Wednesday, Collins killed his opponent at the free throw line.
He drained the clock 40 feet from the basket, gently striding back and forth then pouncing on the defense like a tiger.
The junior bulled past his first defender and set up Baylor’s Henry Dugat with a pump fake. The whistle blew and Collins hit both free throws to push the lead to seven.
On the next possession, Collins passed to Brady Morningstar then ran a circle around the court before taking the ball back at the top of the key. Collins sensed that he was needed and wouldn’t let anyone else decide how the play would end.
“That’s just me,” Collins said. “Late in the game I want the ball in my hands. Rather than making a basket I just want to make the play.” UDK
There have been a lot of yeah-buts in KU's season.
The Jayhawks won at Colorado. And yeah, that's good, but it's still Colorado. Yeah, a win at Iowa State is good, but that's a bottom-tier Cyclones team. Yeah, Kansas was 6-0 in the conference, but, really, who had the Jayhawks beaten?
"Our (being) 6-0 in the league, some people probably viewed it as, 'Well, they had a favorable schedule,'" Kansas coach Bill Self said. "We had a chance to play one of the most talented teams in the league tonight in their house."
It isn't that beating Baylor 75-65 Monday changes all that. But at what point does it all cease to matter?
Kansas is 18-4 and 7-0 in the Big 12. The Jayhawks have not played transcendent basketball lately, but they have won. The Bears have lost four straight now, yes, but they spent seven weeks in the Top 25. They beat a top 15 Arizona State team in November. They are not untalented. Put it this way, there were an awful lot of wide-smiling faces popping out of the Kansas locker room.
...So when Marcus Morris scored the first eight points of the second half and Kansas took an 11-point lead, it shouldn't have been surprising the home team, the desperate team, the agitated Bears, made their first run of the game. LaceDarius Dunn made a 3 to cut it to eight. Henry Dugat made three free throws after a Markieff Morris foul. Tweety Carter made consecutive 3s from the corner. The spread went from 11 to one in less than two minutes. Any time a home team is down, the visitor can always count on a push, usually just one.
That was Baylor's.
The Bears never retook the lead. Instead, it was Kansas taking ownership and making the surge. With 3:40 remaining, Kansas was up by nine and there was a big scrum under the KU basket. Bodies flailing. Tailbones thudding on the floor. Collins had it, then Little, then nobody, then Markieff Morris. And then Little muscled up a layup. It was the scrummiest, feistiest, roughest play of the game and Kansas won it. That made it 66-55, and that did it. TCJ*
"They played great," Self said. "Markieff went after every ball like a man and Mario made some key plays for us. He's just got a natural feel. I'm really pleased with how they played."
And they came up big in big moments. One of the game's biggest shots was Markieff's 3-pointer off a pick-and-pop that gave Kansas its first double-digit lead with 15:52 to play and prompted a Baylor timeout. It was only his ninth 3-point attempt this season and third make. He said he has the green light if he's open, but he's passed up plenty of open 3-pointers this season.
So why that shot? And why at that time?
"I felt as though we were on a run," Markieff said. "We needed another big shot."
...Bill Self didn't think Collins had been playing good defense recently, so he stuck the junior guard on Baylor leading scorer Curtis Jerrells and challenged Collins to step up.
Jerrells went 0-for-7 from the field and scored four points.
"I don't think I've been guarding as well as I guarded last year," Collins said. "That's just, I ain't used to playing this many minutes and playing the same intensity on both ends of the court. That's something I gotta get used to. I'm getting in better shape. He challenged me and I think I responded real well."
...Collins left the Ferrel center Monday night with an ice wrap on his left elbow, nurturing a bruise that has had him wearing a protective sleeve the past two games. TCJ*
Not even an appearance on the big stage could change Baylor’s fortunes.
Playing the final game of a brutal four-game stretch against the top four teams in the Big 12, the Bears proved they’re not ready for prime time as they dropped a 75-65 decision to 21st-ranked Kansas before 9,028 Monday at the Ferrell Center.
Billed as one of ESPN’s Big Monday clashes, the Bears were no match against the feisty defending national champs. FW Star-Telegram*
There appeared to be 1,000 or more KU fans in the upper deck of the arena. KU coach Bill Self looked up into the rafters after Collins hit a running jumper to close the first half, to the delight of the KU fans in attendance.
...The public-address announcer asked for fans to refrain from throwing objects on the court when something was tossed onto the court near the KU bench after an offensive-foul call on LaceDarius Dunn with 7:56 left and KU up, 56-52. LJW: Notebook
Sherron Collins didn’t have his best night, at least not offensively. Cole Aldrich, I think, is bothered by wearing that mask to protect a broken nose. Still, Kansas won on the road at Baylor on Monday to remain unbeaten in Big 12 play and the two biggest reasons were the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff.
If those guys pull it together and start to play with some level of consistency, how good can the Jayhawks be come March? I’ve got the answer: Pretty darn good.
Marcus had 13 points and six rebounds in KU’s 10-point win over the Bears. Markieff chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds. All of that production (22 points, 15 rebounds) occurred in just 35 combined minutes of playing time.
I thought last night’s game looked like a trap game for KU, but the Jayhawks answered the challenge. It will be interesting to see whether they can do the same on Big Monday next week at Missouri, with a game at home against Oklahoma State on Saturday in between. The schedule is getting progressively tougher for KU, but so are the Jayhawks.
This is a tough team. Everybody talks about how Kansas coach Bill Self loves to teach toughness. This team is a prime example of what they’re talking about.
The goal for Kansas is to earn a top four seed into the NCAA Tournament. That would likely assure the Jayhawks of playing first- and second-round games just up the road at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. It also would assure me of not having to get on an airplane, but that’s beside the point for everyone who isn’t me.
Kansas has several games that could trip it up _ road games still to play at Mizzou, Kansas State and Oklahoma. Texas visits Lawrence on the final day of the regular season. But if KU can win two of those games, and finish 14-2 in the Big 12, I think a top-four seed is within the realm. Particularly if one of those victories is against Oklahoma on Feb. 23 in Norman. How good is that game shaping up to be? WIchita Eagle Lutz blog
So what was more clutch (clutchier?): Mario Chalmers' shot or Santonio Holmes' catch?
Think on that while I do the Monday Look Back.
...I'll take Chalmers' shot over Holmes' catch any day, and I'll tell you why. When the ball left Chalmers' hands in last April's national title game the fate of two programs (Kansas and Memphis), two coaches (Bill Self and John Calipari) and millions of fans hung in the air.
If it misses, Memphis is the national champion.
If not, the game goes to overtime.
Thus, the stakes were much higher for that particular play, because think about what would've happened had Holmes not caught that pass on second-and-goal? Answer: Third-and-goal. Then fourth-and-goal. So the worst-case scenario if Holmes drops the pass is that Ben Roethlisberger takes another snap and probably tries to throw to Holmes one more time, and if that doesn't work the Steelers simple kick a field goal to force overtime.
Ames High barely broke a sweat Saturday afternoon en route to a lopsided 74-41 win against Des Moines Lincoln at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Little Cyclones overcame a slow start with a 19-2 run midway through the opening quarter and stayed unbeaten at 15-0.
“We came down and wanted to have the experience of playing at Wells Fargo and got to play a lot of kids,” said Ames coach Vance Downs. “We certainly feel good about the win.”
Ames trailed 10-7 before blowing the game open behind that 19-2 run. Doug McDermott started it with a pair of baskets, putting the Little Cyclones ahead for good at 11-10 with his second 2-pointer. James Kohler added a 2-pointer, Jesse Pritchared picked up a basket on an offensive rebound and Harrison Barnes made three of four free throw attempts as Ames opened up an 18-12 lead.
...Ames led 40-18 at intermission and put on a 3-point display in the third quarter, hitting five treys, including three by Harrison Barnes, who led all scorers with 20 points.
The calendar page has turned, and now comes the most difficult month of the college basketball season.
It’s a good thing February is the shortest month.
“If there is a toughest month, this is it,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
The energy from opening conference play has been spent. The promise of March is four weeks distant.
February is about rematches in conference play, freshmen hitting the wall and mental toughness.
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford echoed many coaches when he said the Cowboys conduct shorter workouts.
“We don’t want them losing their focus in practice,” Ford said.
Nebraska coach Doc Sadler is expanding his rotation to ward off fatigue.
“We’re playing guys who weren’t getting many minutes,” Sadler said.
But one Big 12 coach said he doesn’t buy into the idea of February’s dog days.
“I don’t like the term, ‘dog days,’ ” Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “The opportunity to play at this level, on TV, in front of great crowds. That should be an exciting time for anybody.
“This is a privilege to play college basketball at the high level, in the Big 12.”
In Three Words (Last week’s rankings in parentheses) 1. Oklahoma (1) The good seed 2. Kansas (3) Schedule gets tougher 3. Missouri (4) Excellent bounce back 4. Texas (2) Wildcats. Austin. Bad. 5. Kansas State (9) Hottest team going 6. Baylor (5) Jerrells must deliver 7. Texas A&M (8) Rounding into shape 8. Oklahoma State (6) Always close games 9. Nebraska (7) Finally, a W 10. Iowa State (10) Brackins vs. Clemente 11. Colorado (12) Signs of life 12. Texas Tech (11) Can’t stop bleeding
Three quotes “I don’t know if there’s a close second.” | Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford when asked whether he thought Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin was the leading candidate for national player of the year “I can say this is the first time that I’ve been here they haven’t started singing that song with 10 minutes to go.” | Colorado senior Jermyl Jackson-WilsonO after the Buffaloes threw a scare into the Jayhawks before falling 66-61 “Let’s face it ? players have bad games, coaches have bad games and refs have bad games a lot more often than people talk about it. They don’t have to answer to anybody.” | Texas coach Rick Barnes when asked about the double technical foul and ejection of Texas Tech coach Pat Knight in the Red Raiders’ home loss to Nebraska on Saturday
Three top guns Texas guard A.J. Abrams passed Kansas’ Jeff Boschee as the most prolific three-point shooter in Big 12 history. These guys also made their living from downtown: Josh Carter, Texas A&M. Led the nation in three-point percentage as a freshman in 2007, hitting exactly 50 percent (86 for 172). Brian Conklin, Nebraska. Cornhuskers’ stringbean forward who was much better outside than in. He set the conference record for accuracy by hitting 55.9 percent on threes in 2004. Clarence Gilbert, Missouri. Never met a three-point attempt he didn’t like. Gilbert still holds the league record for three-point attempts, though Abrams should break it, and once made 12 threes in a game in 2002.
Three signs of improvement Colorado went 23 straight possessions without at turnover at Kansas and had seven for the game. Two weeks ago, the Buffaloes turned it over 18 times against the Jayhawks in Boulder. Oklahoma freshman guard Willie Warren has been terrific all season, but he’s coming off his best all-round game: 29 points, six rebounds, four assists and no turnovers at Iowa State.O Nebraska’s recent solid efforts finally paid off in a victory at Texas Tech. KC Star Kerkhoff*
The sex scandal is all but forgotten. There are no more under-the-table payments to players. The Rev. Donald J. Harrington, president of St. John's University, showers praise on coach Norm Roberts for cleaning up his basketball program and bringing in respectable, academically responsible players.
But he cannot deny that something is missing: the winning.
When asked Sunday about the importance of again being a force in the Big East, Harrington said: "It's very important. I'm the first one to say it's very important. I'm disappointed like anyone else is. I'd love to be at the top of the Big East. But these are complex things. It's a big conference. It's a tough conference. We'll keep doing our best."
"He's right. He's right. That's part of the job," Roberts said. "You gotta win and you gotta show progress and I think we are doing that. He wants us to win. He wants us to win bad, too. He probably wants us to win as much as we can and we're trying."
Whether Harrington's disappointment could ultimately cost Roberts his job remains to be seen. Sunday's 65-48 victory over South Florida put St. John's at 12-9, already over last season's win total.
But is a winning record at season's end essential?
"Honestly, that's not something I evaluate every day," Harrington said. "We'll see how the season goes like we did last year and at the end of the whole season we'll sit down with (AD) Chris Monasch and evaluate him. ... When we sit down and do a comprehensive evaluation, all of that will be on the table.
"Norm Roberts is our coach right now and I'd love to see him be our coach for a long, long time because he's a guy who embodies what we're about as a university. But at the same time Chris is our AD and it's much more complex and he has to put all things together. I'll see what he has to say about that." NY Daily News
Bob Knight to Georgia?
No way, I say.
Which is the exact thing Georgia athletic director Damon Evans needs to say too, or else he'll end up looking more foolish than he did when he kept Dennis Felton in place on the merits of a good weekend last March only to remove him this January.
Talk about getting caught up in the moment. And if Evans goes this route he's again getting caught up in the moment (plus the possible headlines and ESPN attention), because there is no good reason for a school like Georgia to hire a man like Knight, and the main reason I feel that way is because I've never seen Knight at an AAU game.
Allow me to explain.
The only way to consistently win at the high-major level is to get good players, and the only way to get good players is to recruit with a passion. Problem is, Knight has no passion for recruiting, evidence being that I've never seen him at an AAU game in my entire life.
Understand, I'm on the AAU circuit every July, sitting in the bleachers next to Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Rick Pitino, Bill Self and everybody else in the world of college basketball. You name them, they're on the road in July non-stop, bouncing from one gym to the next, evaluating talent, positioning themselves to be seen, catering to AAU coaches, wearing themselves out. And yet in seven years of Nike Camps, ABCD Camps and Las Vegas tournaments, I never once bumped into Knight, and it's not because he was hiding from me.
It's because he doesn't recruit that way.
Ask anybody: Knight rarely made the AAU rounds in recent years.
That's why the Texas Tech team he handed off to his son last season finished tied for seventh in the Big 12, why the team his son is coaching right now is tied for last in the Big 12, why the Red Raiders finished fifth in the Big 12 in 2006-07 and tied for seventh in 2005-06, because even a coach as great as Knight -- and make no mistake, he is a tremendous "coach" even to this day -- can't win at the high-major level without high-major players.
Notable game from Monday: Connecticut played its first game as the nation's top-ranked team and looked great doing it while cruising to a 68-51 win at fifth-ranked Louisville. Hasheem Thabeet dominated with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. It was UConn's 10th consecutive victory. The Huskies are now 21-1 overall, 10-1 in the Big East. Louisville is 17-4, 8-1 in the Big East.
Notable performance from Monday: Ryan Tillema scored 18 second-half points and finished with 21 to lead Wisconsin-Green Bay to a 75-66 victory over 11th-ranked Butler. Tillema was 5-of-10 from the field (including 1-of-4 from 3-point range) and 10-of-12 from the free throw line. The effort snapped Butler's nine-game winning streak, moved the Bulldogs to 19-2 overall, 10-1 in the Horizon League. Green Bay is 18-6, 10-2 in the Horizon.
Notable game scheduled for Tuesday: South Carolina will be on the court for the first time since breaking into the Top 25 (and one) when Darrin Horn's team visits Florida. The Gamecocks are 16-4 overall, 5-2 in the SEC and coming off a win at Kentucky. Florida is 18-4 overall, 5-2 in the SEC and coming off a loss at Tennessee. These two teams played last month at South Carolina, where the Gamecocks won 70-69 at the buzzer. Tip-off tonight is set for 9 pm ET. Gary Parrish