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South Carolina's Maik Kotsar, left, heads to the basket as Arkansas' Adrio Bailey defends during the second half in an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference men's Thursday, March 8, 2018, in St. Louis. Arkansas won 69-64. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Preview: The Razorbacks Visit the Gamecocks in an SEC Battle

It’s been an interesting year thus far for both Arkansas and South Carolina, and now they will square off in Columbia on Saturday afternoon.

Razorbacks Look to Keep the Momentum Going

It was a rocky start in SEC play for Arkansas. Just last week they were sitting at 11-8 overall on the season and 2-4 in conference play. Things started to change when the Razorbacks hosted the Georgia Bulldogs. They secured a 10 point win in that game, and carried that momentum into a big win against LSU and then another win against Vanderbilt.

Now, the Razorbacks will walk into their match-up with South Carolina boasting a 14-8 record and a 5-4 SEC record. With their three game win streak, the Razorbacks’ season outlook has changed drastically. Still, Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson knows the challenge ahead.

For the Razorbacks, It’s been Daniel Gafford, Isaiah Joe, and Mason Jones getting the job done. Gafford, the 6-11 sophomore, is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. He’s averaging 16.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Gafford has also made an impact on the defensive end, as he’s averaging nearly two blocks and one steal per game.

Joe and Jones are the Razorbacks’ two main perimeter threats. Joe is averaging 14.2 points per game on 44.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Jones is putting up 13.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. The Razorbacks also have Jalen Harris, who is fifth in the SEC in assists per game with 5.8.

https://twitter.com/ArkRazorbacks/status/1093182035131158528

Gamecocks Trying to Stay Alive

The Gamecocks are at a critical and perhaps dangerous point in their season. Every game is essentially a must-win if they seek any postseason success. Frank Martin’s group is 11-11 on the year.

The Gamecocks have their backs against the wall going forward. Despite their .500 record, South Carolina has actually found some success in their SEC schedule thus far. They are 6-3 in conference play with wins against Florida, Mississippi State, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Auburn, and Georgia.

With some injuries and tough losses early in the season, the Gamecocks have improved since their 4-7 start to the season. For Frank Martin, he knows why the Gamecocks have improved of late:

The Razorbacks have a fairly effective offense, and a top-50 ranked defense according to KenPom.com. For a South Carolina team that hasn’t excelled in any particular area, Coach Martin knows how difficult matching up with the Razorbacks will be.

Arkansas and South Carolina will tip off on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. eastern from Colonial Life Arena.

https://twitter.com/GamecockMBB/status/1093938496358645765

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