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Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman, Associated Press
South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn talks to the team against Mississippi in NCAA college basketball at the C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum in Oxford, Miss. on Saturday, Jan 28, 2012. Mississippi won 66-62.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Darrin Horn hasn't seen his team's confidence dip during its rough start in Southeastern Conference play and he doesn't expect that to change during this challenging week.

The Gamecocks (9-11, 1-5 SEC) face the league's two highest-ranked teams in No. 12 Florida on Thursday and No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday. Horn knows a couple of big-time blowouts might crush his young players' desire to keep grinding things out entering the season's final month.

Those are what-ifs Horn can't worry about at the moment. He thinks South Carolina will keep building on the improvements of last week when the team surprised once-ranked Alabama, 56-54, and then hanging in to the end at Ole Miss in a 66-62 defeat last Saturday night.