After playing four of its last five on the road, UK returns to Rupp Arena on Tuesday to begin a two game homestand beginning with South Carolina. Kentucky has won five of its last six games against South Carolina, with its only loss coming in the hands of Devan Downey when the Cats were 20-0 and the #1 team in the nation.
Kentucky and South Carolina meet just once this season, snapping 21 consecutive seasons were the teams play and home and home series. Kentucky owns an all-time record of 46-10 0ver the Gamecocks. When the game is played at Rupp Kentucky has a 24-2 record against South Carolina.
Frank Martin brings in his 1st year South Carolina squad into Rupp with a 12-9 overall record and a 2-6 mark in the SEC. South Carolina is 1-4 away from home this season. Benton Williams leads the Gamecocks in scoring with 10.6 points per game. Michael Carrera posts a team-best 7 rebounds per game, and also averages 10.2 points per game.
South Carolina doesn’t have great guards, but Bruce Ellington who is a football star as well could cause Ryan Harrow problems, because of his quickness. He is smaller in height than Harrow, but a lot stronger. I am not worried about any matchup in the game besides that one, but if it comes down to it Calipari could have Julius Mays help Harrow bring the ball up the floor if needed.
Nerlens Noel could have another big game as South Carolina doesn’t really provide anybody who is near the level player he is. Willie Cauley-Stein will likely play a lot more than he did last game against Texas A&M according to Calipari’s comments yesterday in his press conference.
Kentucky can’t lose either game this week because the RPI’s of South Carolina and Auburn are 199, and 201 in the nation. If Kentucky slips up in either game this week then they could be right back on the bubble, because of how bad both of these teams have looked throughout the whole year. I don’t expect Kentucky to lose tonight or Saturday, and they could have a nice little streak going into Gainesville next Tuesday to take on one of the nation’s best teams in the Florida Gators.
Kentucky takes on South Carolina at 9 on ESPNU!!!
The Cats are a 17.5 point favorite over the Gamecocks tonight