Kentucky Wildcats (8-15) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (6-13)
- Game Time: 12 pm ET on Saturday, March 6th.
- Location: Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.
- TV Channel: ESPN will cover today’s action.
- Announcers: Karl Ravech and Jimmy Dykes will call the action.
- Online Stream: WatchESPN and fuboTV (free trial).
- Radio: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM, 98.1 FM in Lexington and on the UK Sports Network.
- Replay: WatchESPN and the SEC Network (check local listings).
- Rosters: UK | SC
- Last Game Box Scores: UK | SC
- Stats to Know: UK | SC
- Odds: The Wildcats opened as 7-point favorites. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives Kentucky a 74.6% chance at winning. KenPom gives the home team a 76% chance of winning.
- Prediction: KenPom projects the Cats to win 77-69. TeamRankings is going with a 78-70 victory for Kentucky.
On Saturday, the Kentucky Wildcats will host the South Carolina Gamecocks in what will likely be the regular season finale. This game was originally scheduled for December 29th, but it was postponed due to COVID-19 protocol.
The Wildcats come in reeling from back-to-back losses to Florida and Ole Miss. Coming off of a three-game winning streak, Kentucky seems to have reverted to some bad habits and they continue to search for answers on the offensive end.
And if all of that is not bad enough, senior guard Davion Mintz has a minor injury he’ll be playing through Saturday. While he’s not expected to miss the game, you do have to wonder if the injury will limit his effectiveness, which could be a game-changer since Kentucky has relied so heavily on Mintz this season. He’s been the most consistent contributor, even if guys like BJ Boston, Jacob Toppin and Keion Brooks are looked at as having the most talent.
This will likely be the final game in Rupp for several Wildcats, including BJ Boston, Isaiah Jackson, Olivier Sarr, and possibly Mintz. Other than Mintz, those other guys are near-locks to be playing pro ball next season. Mintz may return for a sixth year since the NCAA is giving everyone a free season of eligibility in 2021-22.
The Gamecocks are not having a the best season either. They missed several early games due to COVID, and they had a six game losing streak in SEC play before beating Georgia last week. In fact, the Gamecocks have only beaten Georgia, Florida, and Texas A&M in league play.
South Carolina is led in scoring by junior guard AJ Lawson with 17.4 points per game. He’s only failed to score in double digits in two games for the whole season. He is shooting 36.7% from behind the three-point line, and Lawson is one of only two regular rotation players shooting better than 30% from deep.
The Gamecocks’ offensive attack is very top heavy between Lawson and Keyshawn Bryant’s 14.3 points per game. If Kentucky can get a handle on these guys, they will put themselves in a good position to pick up a win.
Of course, we can’t forget about sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard, who hit the game-winning three-ball in last seasons’ thriller in Columbia between the Cats and Gamecocks. He finished that game with 26 points and is currently averaging 10.1 points per game this season.
Though Couisnard hasn’t had quite the breakout sophomore season many expected, he’s still a dangerous player who can absolutely light up Rupp if not accounted for. He recently scored 23 points in a road win over Georgia.
Carolina’s defense is also fairly suspect, giving up 80 or more points in five of their last seven games. That is good news for Kentucky team that has trouble putting points on the board.
If Kentucky is looking for one last tune-up game before the SEC Tournament, this is a good matchup to try and find a few answers before heading into elimination territory.
However, as we have seen throughout the season, there is no easy win for this team. They will have to fight, but it looks promising for the Wildcats to end the season on a good note.