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North Carolina Tar Heels (5) @ Kentucky Wildcats (1): Open Game Tread

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Welcome to the official A Sea of Blue open game thread for the North Carolina Tar Heels @ Kentucky Wildcats basketball game today at Rupp Arena. Game particulars are as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:

North Carolina @ Kentucky
Kentucky vs. North Carolina
Sat., Dec. 3 - 12:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Rupp Arena
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | UNC Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
TV: CBS
Radio: UK IMG
GameTracker
Live Audio
Text Updates

This is the game we have all been waiting for, a faceoff between two teams widely expected to contend for the NCAA Tournament title this year. North Carolina comes into this game off a loss to the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in the Las Vegas Invitational and a narrow victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in Chapel Hill. Kentucky comes in undefeated and largely unchallenged, but the unchallenged part will likely change today.

For the Tar Heel perspective, be sure to check out SB Nation's excellent North Carolina blog, Carolina March.

Keys to victory for Kentucky:

  • Transition defense. If Kentucky can minimize the number of transition opportunities the Tar Heels have, this game will be tough for Carolina to win.
  • Perimeter shooting. Kentucky must make open threes, their offense depends on it. UK is not good enough to beat North Carolina at UNC's game.
  • Force the Heels to run half-court offense. North Carolina wants to run, and score early. If UK can force them to run their offense, they will jack up bad shots.
  • Stay disciplined in the half-court. Kentucky must run their offense and force North Carolina to guard them.
  • Limit turnovers. Turnovers hurt UK more than UNC, according to the statistics. The 'Cats must take good care of the ball.

That's all I have, folks. This is a big contest for both teams, but it won't make or break either season. With that said, North Carolina is one of the few teams with a winning record against Kentucky, and it would be great to erode that advantage as much as possible.