With nearly a full week off after dropping a close game to now-No. 2 UCLA and getting whipped down the stretch by Memphis, the Wildcats return to action tonight at 7 ET at Rupp Arena against College of Charleston, the Southern Conference powerhouse led by former Georgia Tech head man (and erstwhile hair model) Bobby Cremins.
There is a slight shakeup to the starting lineup, according to Tubby Smith, who will insert senior forward Sheray Thomas in place of freshman Perry Stevenson. To almost anyone except Tubby, this is like deciding to rotate in your spare on your car because your regular tire is a little low on air. but whatever ... maybe Sheray will prove us wrong.
The most important thing for Kentucky is to begin to guard the opposing team. Offense is great, but these guys simply don't have the horses to outscore the Memphises and North Carolinas of the world, so holding them under 80% shooting is a must.
Other things to watch for tonight:
* Continued strong play from freshman Derrick Jasper, who is clearly a fan favorite and possibly the most talented player in the Kentucky arsenal.
* Better decision-making and ballhandling from senior Ramel Bradley, whose mediocre play cost the Cats dearly in Maui, especially in a UCLA game that could have helped support this year's team nationally.
* Hints that sophomore big man Jared Carter, whose bum shoulder has kept him out for four games, could see limited action. Were Carter to miraculously turn into a viable option off the bench at center, this squad's dynamic changes tremendously.
Probable starting lineupsKentucky
PG -- Ramel Bradley, Jr., Brooklyn, NY
SG -- Joe Crawford, Jr., Detroit, MI
SF -- Bobby Perry, Sr., Durham, NC
PF -- Sheray Thomas, Sr., Montreal, QC
C -- Randolph Morris, Jr., Atlanta, GA
F Perry Stevenson, C Lukasz Obrzut, G Derrick Jasper, G Jodie Meeks, G Michael Porter
College of Charleston
F -- #21 David Lawrence, 6'7", Sr.
F -- #5 Jermaine Johnson, 6'7", So.
C -- #2 Philip McCandies, 6'9", Sr.
G -- #11 Dontaye Draper, 5'11", Sr. (**)
G -- #31 Marcus Hammond, 6'3", So.
C Konimba Diarra, F/C Josh Jackson, G Tony White, F Renardon Dickerson
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