Welcome to the Live Game Thread for the Kentucky Wildcats at the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This is the most important game to date for the Kentucky Wildcats, and it happens on the road. This is the crucible in which great teams are forged, and Kentucky has not yet lived up to their considerable potential an any of the big games they have played so far. You can see the North Carolina side of the game at the Tar Heel Blog.
To win this game, Kentucky must:
Rebound well, especially defensively. Kentucky is going to get offensive rebounds, but it is giving them up that has gotten them in trouble so far this season.
Attack North Carolina's back court. Early fouls on either Nate Britt or Marcus Paige will really help Kentucky's cause due to a lack of depth for North Carolina.
Get back in transition. North Carolina is always one of the best running teams in the country, and they will try to run a lot tonight. It's not just on the break, but also in the early defense in the half-court where Kentucky will have to be quick.
Don't force anything. Sometimes, Kentucky tries to jam the ball into the post, creating turnovers and bad offensive situations. They must be more patient on the wing entry into the post.
Guard Marcus Paige closely. If Kentucky can hold down Paige, I don't think North Carolina can generate enough offense to win.
This will be a great test for the Wildcats, and the nice win they had the other night against a good Boise St. team may be a sign that Kentucky is finally ready to develop some consistency of fundamentals and start some significant upward movement toward their potential, which we know to be considerable.
Kentucky needs this win really bad. Let's cheer them through to it.