Arkansas Razorbacks vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
Tuesday, March 02, 2021 – 06:30 PM EST at Colonial Life Arena
After beating two of the top four teams in the SEC last week, No. 12 Arkansas needs to avoid a letdown in the final week of the regular season. The Razorbacks’ final two games before the tournaments start will be against two of the bottom three teams in the league.
Tuesday night shapes up to be a potential trap game for Arkansas, which can sway a lot of bettors when heading to top sportsbooks. The Razorbacks travel to South Carolina to face a Gamecocks team that has sprung upsets over Florida and Georgia, showing it can be dangerous against a team that doesn’t have its full attention on the opponent in front of it.
Arkansas could be looking forward, to the SEC Tournament, which starts next week, and the NCAAs, which come the week after. Or the Razorbacks could be looking back, at the two big wins. One was against then No. 6 Alabama. The other was against LSU.
Now, playing their third game in six days, the Razorbacks need to clear a road hurdle before ending the season against Texas A&M this weekend.
Arkansas enters the game on a roll. The Razorbacks have won six straight games, nine straight in the league and three straight SEC road games. They moved up eight spots in the AP poll, to their highest ranking since 1998.
At 19-5, 11-4 and second place in the SEC, Arkansas has already wrapped up a double-bye in the SEC Tournament, another factor that could lead to a letdown in South Carolina.
Coach Eric Musselman is confident the team will avoid stepping into a trap. He’s cut back on practice time in favor of film review to help the team conserve energy for the short turnaround, and Arkansas has been able to focus on the next team up all season long.
“I think that our team has done a great job of respecting our opponents each night," Musselman said.
South Carolina has struggled this season, entering the final week of the season at 6-12, 4-10 in the SEC, which puts the Gamecocks one game out of last place.
The Gamecocks snapped a six-game losing streak on Saturday with a surprising road blowout of Georgia, beating the Bulldogs 91-70. The team’s last win before the losing streak was an upset of then No. 22 Florida.
South Carolina got one of its two missing guards back for Saturday’s game. Trae Hannibal didn’t make the trip to Mississippi State last Wednesday, due to what coach Frank Martin called a “day off.”
Hannibal returned for the Georgia game and had career highs in points (15), rebounds (8) and steals (4) while leading the team with five assists.
“I’m really proud of him,” Martin said. “He’s a really good kid and a really good player. … Sometimes letting someone take a deep breath when they are going through a difficult moment and emotionally not being in a peaceful place is what you have to do. He wants to win. Trae is a really good kid.
Meanwhile, point guard Seventh Woods missed his second straight game over the weekend with an undisclosed injury. He is questionable for Tuesday’s game, so keeping an eye out for the final injury report before heading to betting sites would be a good idea.
South Carolina leans on its defense to help create offense. The Gamecocks are No 27 in the country in defensive turnover rate. They also dominate the offensive boards to help make up for shaky shooting.
Arkansas matches up well with both strengths, so keep that in mind when looking at the college basketball lines. The Razorbacks are also a strong rebounding team, and they’re also among the top tier teams in the nation at protecting the ball on offense. The Razorbacks have had a turnover rate below 20 percent for each of the last five games and eight of the last nine.
While Arkansas will be playing for the third time in six days, that fatigue factor is mitigated by the fact that South Carolina has had the same schedule. Plus, this will be Arkansas’ first road trip in that six day span, while the Gamecocks have already taken trips to Mississippi State and Georgia over the last six days.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.