The Cats travel to Columbia, SC today for a CRUCIAL SEC battle this evening, taking on the streaking Gamecocks. Since losing to Boston College on New Years Day, the Gamecocks have reeled off 4 wins in their last 5 games, holding serve at home (typical for this SEC season) and winning one on the road at Florida (atypical for this SEC season). If South Carolina is smart they will be very scrappy and aggressive, for that is the key to knocking off these Cats when they’re away from Rupp Arena. Not to mention that South Carolina has defeated Kentucky 3 of the last 4 games, so they don’t fear the Cats at all.
South Carolina has the typical long athletes in the post that tend to give Kentucky trouble in the post, remember the game a couple of years ago where everything that was brought into the lane was THROWN out! Well they still have those type of players there, led by Sam Muldrow and his 59 blocks so far this season. South Carolina can also shoot it pretty decently from behind the arc, knocking down 35% of their 3’s, with Bruce Ellington leading the charge in that department by hitting 40% of his 3’s.
I’m sure practices this week have not been fun, as Coach Cal is wanting his team to become tougher. Cal also mentioned that his team is complacent because they’re all getting playing time regardless of the outcomes of games or their particular play, well when you have a rotation of 6, nothing’s going to change. If we’re lucky enough to have most of these guys stay next year, then the bench could become a motivator, because they could possible be 10 deep next year, but for this year, it is what it is. When you have a Freshmen laden team, you never know what you’re going to get, last years squad, TOUGH AS NAILS, this years squad, talented but not as tough. The one thing these Cats have is the ability to shoot the basketball, which will keep them in EVERY game, but they need to find the will down the stretch to make plays and come away with a victory on the road.
Try number three for a road victory in the SEC, and for the third road game as well, there will be a HOSTILE environment waiting for the Cats. If they come out early and play well, they can make the crowd a non factor, but an early run for the Gamecocks could spell doom for the Cats. Kentucky trails South Carolina by 1 game in the conference and can’t afford to drop behind by 2, so already an must win basketball game. Like I said, what you see is what you get with these Cats, they’re not going to miraculously turn around their toughness, but it can get A LOT better and I think it will. I think Kentucky cures its road woes and comes away with a victory this evening by the score of 75-68.
GO BIG BLUE!!!!