The Kentucky Wildcats were 20-point favorites at home against South Carolina Tuesday. This was the same Gamecocks team that played Tennessee at home on Saturday and lost 85-42.
Well, we know how Tuesday went. South Carolina dropped in 11 threes, shooting only 20 attempts from deep. The Wildcats just couldn’t keep up, despite having double the free-throw attempts.
While the Cats did have a few late-game attempts to draw even, they eventually fell by a 71-68 final score.
In a game that should’ve resulted in a blowout win for Kentucky, the reigning National Player of the Year, Oscar Tshiebwe, pleaded with his teammates to bring more intensity to their play, likely speaking to their lacking defense.
Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe told us multiple times during tonight’s postgame that he’s pleading with his teammates to fight, to show some intensity. Said that he told Calipari to put in a walk-on if he has to, just someone who is willing to fight.— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) January 11, 2023
The Wildcats were also out-rebounded by four and lost the battle on the offensive glass 15 to 14.
Kentucky has now lost two in a row and three of the team’s last five games. Going to top-five Tennessee Saturday, things could get ugly for the Cats if they keep struggling in conference play.
Tshiebwe, who is averaging 16 points and 13.1 rebounds per game, should know what this team needs to get back on track. In his second year at Kentucky, expect a big game from Tshiebwe against a talented Volunteers team on Saturday.
But unless Kentucky starts getting more fight from the rest of the team on a more consistent basis, the losses will keep piling up.