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LSU Tigers @ Kentucky Wildcats: Open Game Thread

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This is the official A Sea of Blue open game thread for the LSU Tigers @ Kentucky Wildcats basketball game this afternoon at Rupp Arena, February 28th @ 4:00 PM.

Particulars of this game are as follows:

This is the Billy Gillispie version of Custer's Last Stand for 2008-09. Kentucky has a chance to redeem a great many ills with a victory today -- defeating a ranked team for the first time this season, get itself back into the SEC East race (the 'Cats will need help, though), and garner some respect from the NCAA tournament committee. A victory today could also possibly launch the 'Cats back to the trajectory of a confident team for the last two games of the season.

LSU has very little to win in this game, other than the game. They don't need it, but that doesn't mean they will take the 'Cats lightly -- they are a mature, talented team and they haven't taken a game off all year long. Kentucky must play this game as though their post-season lives depend on it, because from an NCAA tournament standpoint, they probably do.

Things Kentucky needs to do well to win:

  1. Continue to rebound well. They rebounded well against South Carolina, and they just have to keep doing that.
    Attack the basket. LSU is a long, athletic team, much like Kentucky, but UK has one of the best rebounders in the conference in Patrick Patterson. Getting it to the hole will likely draw fouls on LSU's big guys, and force the kind of defensive rotation Kentucky needs
    Play with all their might. After what we saw from Kentucky on Wednesday, there is a strong argument to be made that outside of Patrick Patterson, this team is as soft as a baby's pillow, both physically and mentally. The 'Cats had better be ready to get a few scars from this one if they want to win.

Things that will make it hard for Kentucky to win:

  1. Failure to defend Marcus Thornton on the perimeter. UK must force him to take either challenged threes or put the ball on the deck. Otherwise, it will get ugly.
  2. Not adjusting to the way the game is being called. Part of the ugliness of last game was that UK just didn't accept the officiating. They'd better do it today.
  3. Turn the ball over. LSU takes good care of the basketball, turning it over only 18% of the time. If the turnover margin is large, Kentucky is likely to lose.

Well, if the last game was huge, this is the biggest game of the year for Kentucky. They can either rise to the occasion or fold 'em and head to the NIT. It's that simple. Which team will show up today? Your guess is as good as mine.

Go, Cats!