South Carolina (10-5, 1-2) at Alabama (9-6, 1-2)
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Coleman Coliseum
KenPom prediction: Alabama 73, South Carolina 68
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 107.5 The Game in Columbia area
Series: Alabama leads 28-16
Streak: Alabama’s won the last two matchups
Last meeting: March 10, 2017 – Alabama won 64-53 in Nashville in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals
Coach: Frank Martin (223-133 in 11 seasons overall; Sixth season at USC — 106-79). Martin is 3-5 against Alabama.
Projected starters: G Wes Myers (6.3 ppg); G Evan Hinson (2.2); F Justin Minaya (8.7); F Chris Silva (14.6); F Maik Kotsar (8.7)
Last game: Beat Vanderbilt 71-60 on Saturday in Columbia
Notes: Silva is averaging 22 points and 8.7 rebounds through three SEC games. ... Myers’ 17 points against Vandy were the most he’s scored in a game since dropping 22 on Stony Brook last Feb. 12 as a member of Maine’s program. … USC’s win against the Commodores was its first this season when recording fewer than 10 assists. The Gamecocks lost the three previous times that happened.
Coach: Avery Johnson (46-36 in three seasons with Alabama). Johnson is 3-1 against South Carolina.
Projected starters: G John Petty (11.9), G Dazon Ingram (11.1), G Collin Sexton (20.6), F Braxton Key (2.8), F Donta Hall (11.4)
Last game: Lost to Georgia 65-46 on Saturday in Athens
Notes: Sexton, a freshman and five-star recruit, leads the SEC in scoring. He’s second in the league to Silva in free throws made and attempted. … The Crimson Tide is a significantly quicker offensive team with Sexton this season, taking just 15 seconds a possession (23rd quickest in the nation). The Tide ranked 301st in that category last season, going nearly 19 seconds a possession. … Alabama is the only school to have multiple SEC Freshman of the Week winners this season. Sexton got the nod Nov. 27. Petty, another five-star recruit, got it Nov. 20 and Jan. 1.
1. Welcome to the Collin Sexton Show
Following South Carolina’s loss to Missouri last week, Martin noted that Hassani Gravett’s absence was putting more exposure on Carolina’s struggle with on-ball defense.
Enter Sexton, an electric ball-handler who has already scored 25 or more points four times this season.
2. Conquering Coleman
South Carolina hasn’t won on Alabama’s home floor since 2009. The Gamecocks have lost their last four games in Tuscaloosa, including a 23-point beating on Jan. 13, 2016, when they entered with a No. 19 national ranking.
Alabama is 6-2 at home this season. USC is 2-2 in true road games. Its last victory away from CLA came Nov. 27 at Florida International.
3. Supporting Silva
The underlying story to Silva’s big night against Vandy was the fact he was able to stay on the floor. The junior committed fewer than two fouls for just the second time this season and the seventh time in his career (84 games).
Chances for that happening again Tuesday are slim, especially with the Gamecocks playing on the road. USC’s going to need more than the 4.3 points Kotsar is averaging in SEC games. Silva’s going to need frontcourt help.