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Kentucky Wildcats (1) at South Carolina Gamecocks: Open Game Thread

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Today, the South Carolina Gamecocks welcome the Kentucky Wildcats to Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC for a tilt between two SEC East foes. Game particulars are as follows, courtesy of

Kentucky @ Auburn
No. 1 Kentucky at South Carolina
Sat., Feb. 4 - 6:00 p.m. ET
Rupp Arena
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | SC Get Acrobat Reader
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via WatchESPN
Live Audio
Text Updates

For the South Carolina view on the game, be sure to check out Garnet and Black Attack, a good friend of this blog.

Kentucky comes into this game on a roll, both at home and away. The last three contests have been the kind of play that Kentucky needs to take into the NCAA tournament. The scary thing is, this team still has a tremendous amount of untapped potential remaining. They may be on their way to moving closer to the top of their game, and if that progress continues, it's difficult to imagine what the games could look like.

But this is a young team, and this is a road game. That is always a combustible combination, and no outcome would be shocking. South Carolina on the road was the only SEC team to defeat the mighty 2009-10 team other than Tennessee at home, so there is some unpleasant history with UK teams coming undefeated in conference to Colonial Life Arena.

  • Hold their own on the offensive glass. I don't think Kentucky necessarily has to win this stat, because they lose it fairly often even in lopsided games. They do need to keep it close in order to keep it from becoming an issue, though.
  • Continue their strong play. You will never be able to accuse this team of being physical, but they have been tough lately. South Carolina, like every SEC team this season, will try to test the Wildcats physically. They have to respond as they have lately.
  • Make open shots. If there is one thing UK has not done particularly well lately, it is making open shots away from the basket. Kentucky has been relentless at getting into the paint, but they need to find ways to keep teams from packing the defense in too much, and that means hitting perimeter shots.
  • Take care of the basketball. Marquis Teague has settled down a lot the last few games and is looking more and more like the kind of player we thought he would be.
  • Keep the ball out of Bruce Ellington's hands. Calipari has often used Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on point guards because he wants to force the ball out of their hands. I expect that to happen today as well.

I am anxious to see Kentucky show their consistency, and even though three games is a kind of trend, four is an even better one. The Gamecocks aren't a great team and shouldn't be expected to upset Kentucky, but they are capable of playing a lot better than they have so far, and the Wildcats are capable of reverting to prior form.

Go, 'Cats!