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Tennessee Volunteers @ Kentucky Wildcats (18): Open Game Thread

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This is the official A Sea of Blue open game thread for the Kentucky Wildcats vs. the Tennessee Volunteers. Game particulars as follows, courtesy of

Tennessee @ Kentucky
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Tennessee Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Tues., Feb. 8, 9:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ESPN
Radio: BBSN
Online Audio
Online Video via ESPN3
Text Updates
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

With two close road losses in the last two games, the Wildcats simply cannot afford a loss at home to the Volunteers and have any hope at all of winning the SEC. For Tennessee, this game is very important also. This is one of the few genuine rivals that Kentucky has in the SEC, and this will be an extremely tough and hard fought game.

More after the jump.

Keys to a Kentucky win:

  • Physical, relentless play. Kentucky cannot let another SEC manhandle them like the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide did, and Tennessee is built to do just that.
  • Defend like the South Carolina game. Kentucky played a great defensive game on the road against the South Carolina Gamecocks, and if they can duplicate that effort here, they can win.
  • Attack the Volunteers at the rim. Tennessee is not shy when it comes to contact, so Kentucky must try to draw as much contact as possible.
  • Take care of the basketball. Tennessee is not a good ballhandling team, and if Kentucky can take care of the ball, they will gain an advantage.
  • Rebound the basketball. Tennessee is the best offensive rebounding team in the league. Kentucky must compete on the glass, or the Volunteers will dominate them.

Keys to a Tennessee win:

  • Force the ball inside to get fouls. If Tennessee can draw some fouls on Terrence Jones and Josh Harrellson early, they can gain a critical advantage.
  • Force the Wildcats to turn the ball over. Kentucky has an advantage over almost everyone in ballhandling, and the Vols are near the top in steals. Forcing Kentucky to turn the ball over will really hurt the Wildcats.
  • Feed off the passion of Bruce Pearl. This is Pearl's first game back and against the Wildcats, and his hated rival John Calipari. You do the math.
  • Bury Kentucky on the offensive glass.

Big game, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation. Let's do the work. Go 'Cats!!