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GAMETIME: #25 Kentucky at South Carolina

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Necessity dictates brevity today. I'm sure you're crushed. But not much needs to be said about tonight's nationally televised (ESPN) game for the Cats at South Carolina.

Much is riding on this game Kentucky, not least of which is a much belated return to the national spotlight. For the better part of two months, the Cats have been playing well but well off the radar, too. Now it's Super Tuesday, and a #25 rankings in the AP poll and people are watching.

I beseech thee to use the late start as a chance to pore over Truz's always outstanding preview coverage of the matchup.

Tubby Smith acknowldged his guys dodged a bullet with some lackadaisickal play against an outmanned but game Miss. St. team. While USC doesn't look to be even as good as the Bulldogs, it is a road game in the SEC, never an easy proposition.

What to look for:
* Learning Curve: Among other things, the mark of a Final Four-caliber team is how it responds to its mistakes. This team has done a good job of this, especially since their last loss, at UNC. After a poor shooting night and a mediocre performance from their star center for the bulk of the last game, the Cats need to show they learned from their near-loss on Saturday.

* "You Lock It Down": As I've said ad nauseum, this team will go as far as its defensive intensity takes it. Tonight, the Cats face a team that has struggled to score all season. A 45% shooting night for UK and another sub-40% defensive effort could mean a big win for the Cats.

Probable starting lineups

Kentucky
PG: Derrick Jasper (6'6"/213 Fr.) 5.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.4 apg
SG: Ramel Bradley (6'3"/175 Jr.) 13.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.6 apg
3G: Joe Crawford (6'5"/211 Jr.) 13.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg
C: Randolph Morris (6'11"/259 Jr.) 16.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg
SF: Bobby Perry (6'9"/215 Sr.) 7.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg

Bench rotation:
F Perry Stevenson, F Sheray Thomas, F Ramon Harris, C Lukasz Obrzut, G Jodie Meeks, G Michael Porter

South Carolina
PG: Tre' Kelley (6'0"/188 Sr.) 16.3 ppg, 4.7 apg
SG: Brandis Raley-Ross
F: Dominique Archie (6'7"/208, Fr.) 8.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg
F: Evaldas Baniulis
F: Brandon Wallace (6'9"/203 Sr.) 11.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg

Bench rotation:
Bryce Sheldon (G-F), Dwayne Day (F), Ousmane Konate (F), Chad Grey (F)

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