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Mississippi State @ Kentucky: Open Game Thread

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This is the official A Sea of Blue open game thread for the Mississippi State Bulldogs @ Kentucky Wildcats basketball game this evening at Rupp Arena, February 3rd @ 7:00 PM.

Particulars of this game are as follows:

Tonight, the 'Cats are faced with one of those games. This is just about as close to a must-win game as the 'Cats are likely to face at this point in any season. A three game losing streak and a two game home losing sub-streak would really damage the Wildcat's chances for a decent NCAA tournament team, and could even start to call into question the Wildcats' fitness for the tournament. These are the kinds of games that really test a team's mettle, and we shall see how much steel there is in the spine of this version of the Wildcats.

Mississippi State is coming off a home loss to Ole Miss, a bitter rival, so they are certain to be in a foul mood. That can be good for the 'Cats as well as bad, and Kentucky should be coming into this game even angrier and fouler than MSU after dropping two in a row.

Things Kentucky needs to do well to win:

  1. Force MSU to put the ball on the floor. UK cannot let this team fire away from three. The guards shoot about the same from 2 as they do from three.
    Handle Varnado offensively. Much has been made of his shot blocking, but this year, he is a significant scoring threat as well.
    Take care of the ball. This is staying here until we do it. No explanation should be necessary.

Things that will make it hard for Kentucky to win:

  1. Trying to run with the four-guard lineup. One word -- Don't!
    Allowing Ole Miss to get on the offensive glass. It's time UK rebounded the basketball with authority.
    Bad transition defense. This MSU team is terrific in transition.

I'm sick of losing. Two in a row just stinks and I damn sure don't want to write my third postmortem lamenting a loss in a row.. I hope Gillispie has gotten some things strait with these guys, and I want to see a performance tonight that makes me proud for a change. I know you do too.

Go, Cats!