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Kentucky at Tennessee -- Open Game Thread


This is the official A Sea of Blue open game thread for the Kentucky Wildcats @ Tennessee Volunteers basketball game tonight at Thompson-Bowling Arena, Tuesday, January 13th @ 9:00 PM.

Particulars of this game are as follows:

This is the first game of a three-game road trip for Kentucky, and is a critical stretch in the SEC season. In order to get back into the national picture instead of hovering on the verge of it, UK needs to come up with victories on all three of these games. It is an especially tall order for the 'Cats to win tonight in Knoxville, but UK has very few quality wins and badly needs some.

Tennessee has played an extremely tough schedule this year, and has quality wins over highly ranked Georgetown and Marquette, as well as tough losses to Kansas on the road and twice to Gonzaga, once at home and once at a neutral site. The Vols are currently teetering on the verge of falling out of the top 25, and Kentucky could use the momentum from a victory here to get itself in.

Things Kentucky needs to do well to win:

  1. Force the Vols to play defense for most of the shot clock. Patience is the key to beating the Volunteers, as they play good half-court defense only for about 20 seconds.
  2. Get the ball to Patterson early and often.
  3. Handle the press.

Things that will make it hard for Kentucky to win:

  1. Get behind big early. We have had trouble every time this has happened.
  2. Turn the ball over. Tennessee is one of the best in the nation going from defense to offense.
  3. Allow Tennessee to get a lot of offensive rebounds. Offensive rebounds are the key to Tennessee's offensive efficiency.

Tennessee is very similar to Louisville except they are slightly less talented overall and are much less effective on defense. If Kentucky can correct the mistakes they made against Louisville, they can take the Volunteers tonight. The Vols are talented, but they suffer from poor decision making and a general lack of team chemistry.

This is a big opportunity game, much like Miami earlier in the season. We need this game.

Go, Cats!