Kentucky Wildcats (11) @ South Carolina Gamecocks: Open Game Thread

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This is the official A Sea of Blue Open Game Thread for the Kentucky Wildcats @ South Carolina Gamecocks tonight at the Colonial Center in Columbia, SC.  Game particulars are as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:

Kentucky @ South Carolina
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | South Carolina Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sat., Jan. 22, 6:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ESPN
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker
Online Audio
Live Video via ESPN3
Text Updates
Location The Colonial Center
Columbia, S.C.


Coming off a road loss earlier this week in Tuscaloosa against the Alabama Crimson Tide, you would think that the Kentucky Wildcats would now have focused minds.  We'll find out in just a few minutes about that, but as we examined in the pre-game, the Gamecocks are a capable team, with solid depth, and Darrin Horn is getting about as much out of them as anyone could expect.

For a South Carolina perspective on the game, be sure to visit the excellent SBNation USC blog, Garnet and Black Attack.

More after the jump.

Keys to a Kentucky victory:

  • Shoot the basketball better.  Against the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Wildcats shot the ball poorly.  If the Wildcats shoot below 47% eFG%, you can expect another loss.
  • Keep South Carolina off the offensive glass.  USC is a very good offensive rebounding team, and Kentucky cannot afford to come out on the short end of this stat.
  • Attack the rim, but be ready to kick out.  Kentucky has the athletes to get the ball inside, but USC loves to block shots.  UK can use that against them by driving into the paint and causing the defensive rotation that helps USC do so well in that category.
  • Keep the game under control.  South Carolina loves a poorly-organized, helter-skelter game with lots of loose balls and scrambling around.  Kentucky needs to control the pace in this game to keep the Gamecocks uncomfortable.
  • Force South Carolina to put the ball on the floor and shoot inside the arc.

Keys to a Gamecock victory:

  • Make threes.  USC is a good 3-point shooting team, and if they can get open looks against the 'Cats, they'll be very tough.
  • Get into Kentucky's bench.  South Carolina is deeper than UK.
  • Win the battle for offensive rebounds.
  • Limit turnovers. 

We need this win in the worst way.  All I can say at this point is, Go, 'Cats!

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