The most anticipated SEC women's basketball game of the season will take place at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
No. 1 South Carolina (17-0, 5-0 SEC) plays No. 9 LSU (18-2, 5-1) on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). ESPN's College GameDay will preview the matchup that will play an important role in determining the SEC regular-season champion.
The tips are in – here's who women's basketball experts across the country think will emerge victorious in the game between the Gamecocks and Tigers.
Cory Diaz, The Daily Advertiser
South Carolina 93, LSU 79: Everything LSU struggles with on defense, South Carolina does extremely well on offense, shooting the 3-ball and in transition offense. Angel Reese and Aneesah Morrow haven't played as well with anyone in the post this season as Kamilla Cardoso. The LSU crowd will play a role early on, but the Gamecocks will settle in and pull away.
Lindsay Schnell, USA Today
LSU 71, South Carolina 66: A track and field meet or a defensive exchange of blows? It's hard to say exactly what will happen when two of the most talented teams in the country meet, but I'm leaning toward LSU based solely on where the game is taking place. As Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said, the Tigers' crowd is worth 8-10 points. Therefore, I give LSU a (very slight) lead, but I won't be surprised by any result.
Stefan Krajisnik, Clarion Ledger
South Carolina 78, LSU 75: This South Carolina team had the talent to fill big shoes and be successful this season. What was impressive, however, was how Staley's team played on the road. Baton Rouge will be a step forward in terms of hostile environments, but I think the Gamecocks will rise to the challenge and eliminate any debate about who the best team in the SEC is.
David Eckert, Clarion Ledger
South Carolina 78, LSU 75. Although LSU's roster is full of elite scorers and its points per game average is the best in college basketball, South Carolina's offense was more efficient. Despite significant roster turnover, Dawn Staley has built the best 3-point shooting team in the country, which also has the nation's highest overall field goal percentage. The Gamecocks' defense was also better. Winning in Baton Rouge won't be easy, but this new-look South Carolina team has what it takes.
Cora Hall, Knox News
South Carolina 85, LSU 76: If this game wasn't in the PMAC, I would predict a blowout win for South Carolina. But LSU will have home field advantage, so the Tigers will hang on and make it an exciting game. However, the Gamecocks are too good – historically on both ends of the field – for LSU to pull off an upset and hand them their first loss of the season.
Emily Adams, Hartford Courant
South Carolina 81, LSU 72: The Gamecocks fell behind early due to a raucous Baton Rouge crowd, but the defense stepped up in the second half. Kamilla Cardoso recorded her 11th double-double of the season while Angel Reese had fewer than 20 points.
David Cloninger, The Post and Courier
South Carolina 84, LSU 78: LSU relies on being able to outwork its opponent. South Carolina scores better than its opponents because it defends as well as it scores.
Mark Schindler, Seven Star Digital
South Carolina 79, LSU 68: South Carolina is once again the best defensive team in the country and is playing with new vigor on offense. Every single one of them is a playmaker, they shoot the ball incredibly well, they dominate the interior, they own the glass.
LSU is a real contender for the national title, but it also has weaknesses. This team doesn't shoot the bell well or often from deep. They are strong defensively and can beat you in transition, but they can struggle in the halfcourt. This could be a huge step forward for LSU or another moment of continuity for South Carolina – I'd bet on the latter without discounting the former.
Caroline Makauskas, director of the Lexington Herald
South Carolina 89, LSU 76: This new-look South Carolina squad has done nothing but showcase its ability to collectively play tough against some of the toughest competition in the country – while LSU at times still seems to find a way to thrive under pressure. The Tigers have everything they need to make this game competitive, but South Carolina's defense and rebounding should keep the Gamecocks undefeated.
Aria Gerson, Tennessee
South Carolina 89, LSU 80: Even though the game is in Baton Rouge, LSU is unproven against the type of top teams the Gamecocks have proven they can beat. South Carolina's elite 3-point shooting should go down well.
Alexis Cubit, Courier Journal
South Carolina 88, LSU 84: South Carolina is currently playing at a different level with young talent like Raven Johnson and MiLaysia Fulwiley, the full development of Kamilla Cardoso and a transfer in Te-Hina Paopao. Because of LSU's depth of talent and the way it bounced back from the loss to Auburn, it will be a close one – but the Gamecocks will have the final say against the defending champions, which is sure to please women's college basketball fans their costs will come.
Marisa Ingemi, San Francisco Chronicle
South Carolina 75, LSU 67: This isn't hate on LSU, because I think we've learned by now not to doubt them – but I don't feel like I can make a decision against South Carolina until they show some of the cracks they've got this season really don't have it. If anything, the Gamecocks have proven that they are still the best in the country even without Aliyah Boston. I won't doubt them until they force me.