COLUMBIA - In a season of evolving goals, South Carolina is left with very few options.
As star point guard Devan Downey said, it's about pride.
This afternoon at Nashville, Tenn., against Vanderbilt, the slip-sliding Gamecocks (14-15 overall, 5-10 in the SEC) will try to avoid a losing regular-season record.
"It goes without saying that confidence is an issue right now," USC coach Darrin Horn said, "but you go on the road and fight and battle and try to put your best foot forward."
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The problem: The Commodores (23-6, 12-3) are the league's best team behind two-loss Kentucky. Plus it's senior day for talented point guard Jermaine Beal, who is leading the squad at 14.5 points a game.
"This is a team that I think is vastly underrated nationally," Horn said.
"When you look at the number of games they've won and how they're playing, for them to be ranked where they are, I think it's a little bit low."
The 'Dores are not ranked but are receiving votes in both major polls.
For South Carolina, it is one last regular-season chance to halt a six-game losing streak that stretches to Feb. 10.
The personnel is the same as the team that upset then-No. 1 and undefeated Kentucky on Jan. 26, but fans can only scratch their heads about what's happened.
Wednesday's home loss to .500 Alabama established a new low.
The Gamecocks led by as many as 14 before falling apart in the final 10 minutes to allow a Tide team, without its best player (JaMychal Green), to steal victory.
Horn acknowledged the effort level was better earlier in the season. However, he said the Gamecocks have to find ways to close out games.
South Carolina will head back to the Music City next week for the SEC tournament.