USC plays its first SEC Tournament game Thursday at 6:00 PM in Tampa against Mississippi State. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs split their regular season games, each winning on their home court. The Gamecocks are the #7 seed for the tournament and the Bulldogs are the 10th seed. By the NET Rankings this week, Mississippi State is 57th and the Gamecocks are 90th.
In the game in Starkville, State won 78-64 after leading by 22 at the half, and they beat the Gamecocks badly on the boards 41-24. In the game in Columbia, the Gamecocks never trailed and won 66-56 holding the Bulldogs without a made three-point shot. And they beat the Bullies on the boards.
Meeting with the media Monday morning, Gamecock coach Frank Martin said two keys for his team will defending Bulldog star guard Iverson Molinar (31 points in the 2 games) and at least holding their own in rebounding.
As for other topics of note, Martin continued to argue against the use of computers and the NET Ranking for judging the quality of teams regarding at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. And he rebuffed a question referring to his job security after this season.
The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to play Tennessee on Friday.