Tennessee Volunteers at Kentucky Wildcats: Live Game Thread

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The longest-running series in the SEC is renewed today in Rupp Arena.

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Welcome to A Sea of Blue's live game thread for the Tennessee Volunteers at Kentucky Wildcats game. This is an SEC tradition that should be especially savored this season, because the SEC, in their infinite wisdom, has determined that the Wildcats will not make the return trip to Knoxville.

Kentucky wins this game if:

  • They take care of the basketball. Up until the game at Arkansas, the Wildcats were making good progress in ball security. Tennessee is not a big steals team, but Kentucky needs to make extra sure to avoid long, lazy passes or passes under pressure to remote players.

  • The Wildcats rebound well. Tennessee is the biggest challenge that Kentucky has faced all season to their offensive rebounding dominance.

  • They make layups. Kentucky missed nine layups against Arkansas, some of them very easy ones.

  • They attack the basket. The Volunteers don't have Arkansas' depth, and attacking the rim in Fayetteville almost got it done.

  • Play as a team. We have seen the Wildcats begin to play more like a team. That needs to continue.

Kentucky can lose this game if:

  • They back down in any way. Tennessee is like a pack of jackals — if you show any weakness, they will tear you apart.

  • They allow open looks from three. Tennessee is not a great 3-point shooting team, but they are good enough.

  • They allow Tennessee to dominate the glass. The Vols have big, strong boys inside and are the #7 rebounding team in the nation. Kentucky must win this battle.

I like the Wildcats in this one, and I think they have a bit of a chip on their shoulder after the tough loss to the Razorbacks earlier this week. For a fact, Kentucky cannot afford to lose this game if it wants to entertain any hopes at all about being a top two seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Go, 'Cats.

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