As he prepares the Gamecocks for a rematch with the Wildcats at Rupp Arena, Horn said Tuesday that he was unsure whether any one victory, no matter how significant, could have boosted his team past its struggles with depth and scoring.
Horn and the Gamecocks (14-12, 5-7 SEC) crossed their fingers that the 68-62 win over Kentucky -- South Carolina had never defeated a No. 1 team before that -- might kick off a second-half charge that might be good enough to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
Instead, South Carolina has gone 2-4 since its fans charged the Colonial Life Arena floor in celebration. That includes a three-game losing streak the team will carry into Thursday night's game.
A month ago, Devan Downey was averaging better than 30 points per game in the Southeastern Conference, a pace that drew comparisons to LSU's prolific "Pistol" Pete Maravich. But a lingering ankle injury has slowed Downey's output. Tennessee held him to just 15 points, the least he's scored in a league game this season.
"I think if you've been in this long enough, you know that our issues remain our issues," Horn said.
The coach has had to rely on four first-year players to pick up the minutes and production of two missing starters. He has also had to find other scorers to take some heat off the 5-foot-9 Downey.
Horn was proud that his team followed the Kentucky win four nights later with a come-from-behind, Downey-led rally to beat Georgia. Several days after that, though, Downey rolled an ankle at practice, and things haven't gone as well since.