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Gamecocks look to bounce back

Following a 39-point beating at the hands of Florida on Wednesday night, South Carolina returned home and has prepared to take on Georgia. The Gamecocks (12-8, 2-5) got back to practice on Thursday after the worse loss of the season and the coaching staff was interested to see how the team responded.

South Carolina assistant Brad Underwood

OPENING TIP
Date: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013
Tipoff: 1:47 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Series: South Carolina leads 50-48
Last Meeting: Georgia win, 67-55, March 3, 2012, in Athens, Ga.
Television: SEC Network

“We were excited to see how the team was going to react after not a very good performance,” assistant coach Brad Underwood said Friday afternoon. “For the most part they were pretty solid. We told them we have to flush that game and we weren’t going to dwell on it. The next one is here.”

The Gamecocks will face a Bulldogs (9-11, 3-4) squad that has won two games in a row and is led by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is second in the league in scoring average with 17.5 points per game. The sophomore is shooting 44 percent from the floor this year and provides the Bulldogs with versatility on offense.

“They are a very hard matchup,” Underwood said. “In my opinion they have the best offensive player in the SEC in Caldwell-Pope. They do a great job of putting him in situations, through post ups, stagger screens, ball screens. This young man scores and really is an offensive talent. “

Georgia head coach Mark Fox’s ball club will give the Gamecocks a bit of a match up issue mainly due to the size on their roster. The Bulldogs head to Columbia with nine players on their roster listed at 6-foot-9 or taller while the Gamecocks will feature just five guys of that type size.

“Here is a team that starts 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5, 6-foot-7, 6-foot-9, and 7-foot,” Underwood said. “They come in with a plethora of guys 6-foot-9 or bigger and they have very big guards and they play that way. Obviously we are not real big so that is something that we have to account for.”

Underwood laid out the plan for how the Gamecocks will have to attack the Bulldogs to neutralize their height.

“We have to create space so that they have to extend the floor and dribble the basketball and bring it down to our level,” he said.

Georgia enters the game on a two game winning streak and winners of three of their last four with the only loss coming to Florida. The Bulldogs opened the season with a record of 2-7 with losses to Youngstown State and Iona but have started to mature according to Underwood as he explained their early season troubles.

“I think the obvious thing is you look at the roster and they are a very young team,” Underwood said. “Anytime you have youth in the non-conference you are trying to feel them out, you are trying to establish what you want to do and now this team has become very comfortable in their roles.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 1:47 p.m. from the Colonial Life Arena with television coverage by the SEC Network.

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