Playing the Tennessee Volunteers in a sold out Thompson-Boling Arena today in Knoxville is going to be a major test for the Kentucky Wildcats, and could sew up a share of the SEC regular-season championship for the first time since 2004-05. Five years is a ridiculously long time for Kentucky to go without an SEC regular-season crown, and it feels really good to this UK fan to have it back within reach after so very long.
The Volunteers, though, are not going to roll over and play dead for the 'Cats. They want payback for the solid defeat they suffered in Rupp Arena, and just like every single game on the road has been this year, this game will be held in front of a sellout crowd of rabid fans who would really, really enjoy hanging only the second "L" on their biggest rival's record.
Game particulars are as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:
|Date & Time||Sat., Feb. 27, 12:00 p.m|
|Coverage||TV: CBS |
Live Video via CBS
|Location||Thompson-Boling Arena |
There is no fear that UK will be looking forward to another opponent on this one -- the Vols really got under the skin of many of the Kentucky players during the game in Rupp, and you'd best believe they will by trying hard to do it again in Thompson-Boling today. I am quite sure that this UK team is fired up to beat Tennessee in Knoxville for all kinds of good reasons.
More following the jump.
What UK needs to do to win:
- Unleash the beasts inside -- Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins.
- Be ready for lots of defensive changes. Bruce Pearl could not fail to notice how long it took Kentucky to solve the 3-2 zone he threw up against them in Rupp.
- Get to the free throw line. Getting to the line helps in so many ways.
- Attack the offensive glass.
What UK can do to lose:
- Take too many threes. They need to shoot open ones, but they should focus on getting the ball inside all day.
- Allow Wayne Chism and Scotty Hopson to have big days. Chism is hobbled, but how many times have we seen wounded players rise up and have the game of their lives?
- Allow the Volunteer pressure to get to them.
- How do you spell, "Loss?" Missed free throws. UK cannot afford to shoot as poorly from the stripe in Knoxville as they did in Rupp Arena.
SEC championship, Baby! Calipari may profess not to care, but I absolutely do. I want to put the SEC championship behind us so we can focus on our next goal -- the SEC tournament championship. Win both, and the NCAA seeding will take care of itself.