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Kentucky at LSU -- Open Game Thread

This is the official Open Game Thread for Kentucky at LSU.

If the last game was the defining game of the season, as I suggested, it's a definition none of us want to have.  Today is a chance for Kentucky to get back on track, and place the Vandy debacle firmly in the rear view mirror. 

Traveling to LSU and getting out with a win has never been easy, although we are 3-2 over the last five tries.  As I said in my adversary analysis, LSU has become a very mercurial team that has been playing better lately since the dismissal of John Brady as coach of the Tigers.  LSU is very talented and pretty young, but they are as athletic as any team we have faced all year, and have plenty of guys who can get the job done on both ends of the floor.

This game offers many intriguing matchups, including Anthony Randolph versus either Patterson or Stephenson.  Randolph is one of the few SEC big guys that Stephenson is not likely to get pushed around by, so I don't know who will be guarding him most of the time.  We do have more bulk than LSU and similar size on the inside, but they are a little bigger on the perimeter than the Cats.

Unlike the last game, I don't have a feeling one way or the other about this affair.  Kentucky has certainly undergone a shock to the system, and it's hard to know how they will respond.  Crawford and Bradley have been excellent leaders at times, and not so great at others.  This will be a big test of their leadership, and of the Wildcats' resiliency.

Keys to the game:

  1. Ballhandling -- We just have to improve here.
  2. Good start -- Kentucky struggles when they get behind early.
  3. Forget the past -- The Cats can't let Vandy beat them twice.
  4. Pace --  Keep it low.  LSU is best in the open floor.
  5. Defense -- Kentucky must learn how to guard like Vandy, and apply it today.

Time to start a new streak.  The Deaf Dome is a tough place to do it, but do it we must.  Kentucky no longer has the luxury of being able to lose a game if it hopes to put itself in position for post season play.  Virtually every game is now life or death, and a loss here would do grave harm to any hopes the Cats still entertain.  LSU may be playing better than their ranking, but an "L" would be considered a bad, bad loss.

Leave your comments below if you have them.  We need this one.