The Volunteers are desperate for a win, as they have now lost four of their last seven SEC games and are 4.5 games out of first place in the conference standings.
Meanwhile, the South Carolina Gamecocks are on a three-game losing streak and sit at 3-7 in the SEC.
Fixture: South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Tennessee Volunteers - NCAA Men's Basketball
Date and Time: Tuesday, February 16, 8:30 PM ET
Venue: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee
Tennessee Volunteers Preview
The Tennessee Volunteers had a disappointing weekend, falling to the LSU Tigers, 65-78. They have now lost two of their last four games. Here is what head coach, Rick Barnes, had to say after his team's disappointing performance against the Tigers (via ESPN):
"The inconsistency is coming from our older players... They are talented players (freshmen Springer and Johnson), but we still need a balance. Consistency has to come from a group of guys on both ends."
The struggle for the Tennessee Volunteers has lately been due to their low offensive efficiency. In the game against the LSU Tigers, they shot 36% from the field and failed to score more than 65 points. In all five of the conference losses Tennessee has suffered this season, they have scored 65 points or less.
The Tennessee Volunteers should be able to get back into a rhythm offensively and close out the year strongly heading into tournament time. Their last four scheduled opponents are all against teams with a below .500 conference record.
Key Player - Jaden Springer
Jaden Springer is the best player on the Tennessee Volunteers' roster this season. The freshman guard leads the team in scoring with 12.2 points a game on 51.4% shooting.
Springer has been on fire as of late, scoring 74 points in his last three games. His recent play has him projected to get selected as a lottery pick in the 2021 NBA draft.
Springer will need to continue his hot shooting to help the Tennessee Volunteers gain back spots in the conference standings.
Tennessee Volunteers' Predicted Lineup
F Yves Pons, F Josiah-Jordan James, G Santiago Vescovi, G Jaden Springer, G Keon Johnson
South Carolina Gamecocks Preview
After upsetting the Florida Gators on Feb. 3, the South Carolina Gamecocks went into a three-game homestead, hoping to turn their disappointing season around. Instead, they lost all three games and are now lacking the motivation to close out the season.
Here is what junior forward Keyshawn Bryant had to say after his team's recent loss to Ole Miss, 81-74:
"Very disappointing... Three games, three losses in a row is just the outcome of us playing single basketball and not team basketball."
The South Carolina Gamecocks' lack of team basketball is resulting in them having poor shot selection. They average an expected field goal percentage of 48.1, ranking them 257th in Division I, per teamrankings.com.
The South Carolina Gamecocks will need to improve their off-ball movement and be patient in their offensive sets to defeat the Tennessee Volunteers.
Key Player - AJ Lawson
AJ Lawson is the key player for the South Carolina Gamecocks. He is currently averaging a team-leading 17.9 points, along with 4.4 rebounds a game.
However, the junior guard has struggled against the Tennessee Volunteers during his college career. In his four games against the Volunteers, he has averaged 7.75 points on 26.45% shooting.
Lawson will need to redeem himself from his previous performances against the Tennessee Volunteers and score his season average to give his team a chance at an upset.
South Carolina Gamecocks' Predicted Lineup
F Justin Minaya, C Wildens Leveque, G Seventh Woods, G AJ Lawson, G Jermaine Couisnard
South Carolina vs. Tennessee Match Prediction
Both teams have struggled to score the basketball this season at a consistent level. However, the Tennessee Volunteers have a matchup advantage in nearly every position against the South Carolina Gamecocks and will come away with a win.
Expect Jordan Springer to continue his scoring dominance. He is becoming better and better as his freshman year goes on.
Where to watch South Carolina vs. Tennessee
The game will be broadcast live on the SEC Network.