Welcome to game-day. South Carolina tries to break a three game losing streak as the Kentucky Wildcats come to town.
#GAMEDAY— The Spurs Up Show (@TheSpursUpShow) January 15, 2020
Carolina hosts the Wildcats looking to pull the upset.
🏀 vs. #10 Kentucky
🌎 = Columbia, SC
📍 = Colonial Life Arena
📆 = Wednesday, January 15th
⏰ = 6:30 PM ET
📺 = SEC Network#BeatKentucky #TSUS pic.twitter.com/EPgv8BsRhI
The Gamecocks are a desperate bunch, seeking their first conference win. Meanwhile, UK looks to remain unbeaten in SEC play.
Could that all change tonight?
Analyzing the Wildcats
Another week, yet another tough SEC matchup for the Gamecocks as #10 Kentucky comes into Columbia on a four-game win streak that includes a victory over previously third-ranked Louisville.
The most storied basketball program in the SEC has greatly improved from the beginning of this season and is a completely different team than the one that lost to Evansville in Rupp Arena back in mid-November.
Kentucky’s best quality is their depth and ability to stretch the floor with great guard play from Ashton Hagans at point guard and Nick Richards in the post.
The Wildcats have four players that average 13 or more points per game, which makes them a difficult team to play team defense against.
This Kentucky team shoots the ball better than a Calipari-coached team normally does, as they currently lead the SEC in free throw percentage and third in field-goal percentage.
If the Gamecocks are looking to pull the upset, they are going to need to force some timely Kentucky turnovers and turn them into points.
One of the only statistics that the Gamecocks currently stand in the upper echelon of the conference in is steals, and that trend must continue for Frank Martin’s squad to take Kentucky down this evening.
AJ Lawson absolutely must have a huge game tonight for Carolina to have a chance.
The preseason All-SEC first team member has been more cold than hot so far this season, only shooting 40% from the field and 33% from three so far this season.
Lawson will be greatly tested on both ends of the floor tonight.
The supporting cast of Maik Kotsar, Jair Bolden, Keyshawn Bryant and others will need to have a solid game tonight for the Gamecocks to finally get a win in SEC play.
This team plays their best when they get the ball in the post early, whether it be from entry passes to the big men or by driving to the basket and making timely outside shots (i.e. the Clemson and Virginia games).
Let’s hope that happens tonight.
I expect tonight’s atmosphere in Colonial Life Arena to be electric and perhaps the best home game of the season for the Gamecocks.
It will be the first home game with students back following the holiday break and the second game with alcohol sales being involved.
Also, Kentucky has one of the most widespread fanbases in the country, so expect to see a lot of blue in the stands tonight.
As far as the game goes, I see it being one of those stereotypical Frank Martin-coached games that involves a lot of fouls, substitutions and subsequent free throw shooting playing a huge part in the outcome.
The Gamecocks need this one very badly to get some confidence back and to perhaps get back on track to salvaging the season.
Overall, Kentucky (-5) is the best bet for tonight’s game because their talent level and current form is way ahead of the Gamecocks.
However, this basketball season has been strange enough to justify the Gamecocks bringing home the win tonight.
I think they can and will do it.