2014 SEC Tournament Preview: No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 13 South Carolina

South Carolina Tennessee

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks pulled off the biggest upset of the 2014 SEC Tournament so far when they defeated the No. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks, who were considered by many to be in the 2014 NCAA Tournament before that loss. Now, Frank Martin’s Gamecocks will face the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers 25 minutes after the opening game of the quarterfinals of the 2014 SEC Tournament in Atlanta, which should be around 4:00pm EST. The game will be shown on ESPNU.

The Volunteers are dominating opponents recently. Ever since that crazy loss to the Texas A&M Aggies, Antonio Barton has been set off, averaging 17 points per game over the last four games. If he can continue to score on offense and Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae don’t slow down, I think the SEC Championship is theirs for the taking.

On the other hand, South Carolina does have the capability of an upset. They have pulled off two so far in the SEC Tournament, but the third will require them to beat a team that already defeated them by 19 this season. Remember, however, that the Gamecocks nearly beat the Baylor Bears early in the season and only lost because of a whiffed rebound.  In most leagues, the No. 13 seed is a pushover, but not in the SEC.

Tennessee may think that this game is a lock, but they can’t start looking ahead to the semi-final match-up with the winner of the quarterfinal between the No. 1 Florida Gators and the No. 7 LSU Tigers. The Volunteers have lost focus in “gimme” games already this season, losing to the UTEP Miners, Vanderbilt Commodores and Texas A&M, twice.

Prediction:

Tennessee has won their last three games by an average of 31 points, shutting down the top two scorers in the SEC to just 2 – 20 from the field and 14 total points. South Carolina has shown guts making it this far, but for once I don’t think the Vols are going to let us down, winning 67 – 45 and moving on to the semi-finals with ease.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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