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GAMETIME: #18 Kentucky vs. South Carolina

With all the build-up to Saturday's showdown at Rupp Arena with the Florida Gators, something slipped everyone's minds. Or, at least, we hope not everyone.

Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, also at Rupp Arena, Kentucky faces South Carolina, losers of two straight, in a classic trap game.

All we as fans can really hope for is that the coaches are as aware of the dangers of overlooking a rather desperate Tre' Kelley and the Gamecocks. I'm confident that they are pretty clearly telling the guys not to think about Erin Andrews or Digger Phelps (for Woo).

Still, I'll feel a lot better once this game is over. Assuming the good guys walk away winners, of course. There I go assuming, again ...

Truz' earlier South Carolina preview still works, so take a look before tip-off.

Update [2007-2-7 19:38:12 by JL Blue]:Pre-game, Tubby Smith hinted there may be a change to the starting lineup, though no info as of 7:40 pm.

What to look for:
* Revenge. Forty-point drubbings often come back to haunt you, unless they are of schools you never play. But a league team got embarassed on its home court, losing by more points than any game since 1915. Don't think Dave Odom will mention that to his kids?

* Buy week. With so much riding on a win over Florida, Kentucky naturally has to at least have the game in the back of their minds. That there is a game in-between is the nature of scheduling. While I'm not wishful the game was against an Alabama or Arkansas -- someone more dangerous on paper, at least -- it's undertandable the Cats might be looking forward.

* Home "D"-pot. Kentucky under Tubby Smith has been a bit of a mixed bag at Rupp. While they have won some huge games there -- two Florida games and Maryland jump out -- they have also dropped some games that seemed, well, gimmes. Lesser Georgia, South Carolina and Vandy teams have all caught the Cats napping, and one wonders what being home -- and shooting at Rupp -- will be like this evening. Defensive intensity has been a hallmark this year and in good Tubby years, so perhaps even an off shooting night won't be a disaster.

Probable starting lineups

PG: Derrick Jasper (6'6"/213 Fr.) 4.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.3 apg
SG: Ramel Bradley (6'3"/175 Jr.) 13.6 ppg, *3.7 apg, 4.3 rpg
3G: Joe Crawford (6'5"/211 Jr.) 14.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg
C: Randolph Morris (6'11"/259 Jr.) 15.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg
SF: Bobby Perry (6'9"/215 Sr.) 6.7 ppg, 3.7 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 (6'4"/196 Sr.) 16.8 ppg, 2.9
SG: Bryce Sheldon (6'4"/196 Sr.) 8.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg
F: Dominique Archie (6'7"/208 Fr.-RS) 8.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg
F: Evaldas Baniulis (6'7"/209 Fr.) 4.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg
C: Brandon Wallace (6'9"/203 Sr.) 10.5 ppg, 9.6 rpg

Bench rotation:
Brandis Raley-Ross (F), VEvaldas Baniulis (F), Dwayne Day (C), Chad Grey (F-G)