Busting Brackets

Missouri vs. South Carolina: College basketball game preview, TV schedule

COLUMBIA, MO - DECEMBER 19: Blake Harris
COLUMBIA, MO - DECEMBER 19: Blake Harris /

Even after losing possibly the top pick in the next NBA draft, Missouri has put themselves in the NCAA tournament conversation. Can they go on the road and beat the league’s representative in last year’s Final Four?

TV schedule: Wednesday, Jan. 3, 9:00 p.m. ET. ESPN2

Arena: Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina

Life must be great to be a fan of the SEC right now. In college football, both Alabama and Georgia won their semifinal matchups, setting up an All-SEC finals for the national championship.

The football side is doing great as usual, but quietly the basketball teams have been performing well also. Take, for instance, our Busting Brackets first edition of Bracketology. The ACC, as expected, have eight teams getting bids. But tied with them is the SEC, which also has eight teams, thanks to Florida receiving one of the last four spots.

One of those eight teams was the Missouri Tigers 10-3 (0-0). Even without phenom freshman Michael Porter Jr. playing after suffering a season-ending injury, veterans Jordan Barnett, Kevin Puryear and Canisius grad transfer Kassius Robertson have allowed Missouri to remain a contender to grab a bid by the time March comes.

But in order for Missouri to get to March Madness, they’ll have to get past the teams not expected to get bids, such as South Carolina 9-4 (0-1). The Gamecocks have lost a ton of talent from the previous year and have struggled to score at the level needed to win games. Head coach Frank Martin still has his team playing quality defense, but the offense leaves a lot to be desired.

South Carolina lost the first SEC game of the season, a 73-69 defeat at Ole Miss. Chris Silva and Frank Booker each had 21 points, but very little contributions from the others.

Next: 5 SEC questions for the beginning of league play

Neither team is an offensive juggernaut, so this game should be in the 60s. But the Tigers just simply have more weapons and have already played defensive teams similar to the Gamecocks like West Virginia, so they’ll be ready for this game.

Prediction: Missouri 67 – South Carolina 62