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Kentucky vs @South Carolina....A Preview

Kentucky vs South Carolina 2/13/16 Saturday 12 PM (ESPN)
Game is at Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, S.C.

Kentucky leads series 49-11

South Carolina Gamecocks (SEC)

Location: Columbia, S.C.
Enrollment: 32,972
Arena: 18,000 (Average Home Attendance 11,822)

Head Coach: Frank Martin
Career Record: 162-108 (60.0%) 8 Seasons
At South Carolina: 45-54 (45.5%) 3 Seasons

2014-15 Record: 17-16
2014-15 SEC Record: 6-12
2014-15 Postseason: None

2015-16 Record: 21-3
2015-16 SEC Record: 8-3

South Carolina 84 Norfolk State 69
South Carolina 84 Oral Roberts 66
South Carolina 76 DePaul 61
South Carolina 94 Hofstra 84
South Carolina 83 Tulsa 75
South Carolina 92 Lipscomb 76
South Carolina 76 Western Carolina 53
South Carolina 81 USF 63
South Carolina 79 Drexel 54
South Carolina 65 Clemson 59
South Carolina 75 St. John’s 61
South Carolina 78 Francis Marion 56
South Carolina 86 Memphis 76
South Carolina 81 Auburn 69
South Carolina 69 Vanderbilt 65
Alabama 73 South Carolina 50
South Carolina 81 Missouri 72
South Carolina 77 Ole Miss 74 (OT)
Tennessee 78 South Carolina 69
South Carolina 84 Mississippi 74
South Carolina 78 Alabama 64
Georgia 69 South Carolina 56
South Carolina 81 Texas A&M 78
South Carolina 94 LSU 83

South Carolina Stats:

3 PT%-35.1% (6.2 PG)
RPG-41.7 (+8.6)

Probable Starting Lineup: 

Michael Carrera-F 6’5” Sr…………………….14.2 PPG
Sindari Thornwell-G 6’5” Jr…………………..13.2 PPG
Mindaugas Kacinas-F 6’7” Sr…………………10.3 PPG
P.J. Dozier-G 6’6” Sr…………………………..7.5 PPG
Chris Silva-F 6’9” Fr…………………………..5.7 PPG

Other Key Players:

Marcus Stroman-G 6’2” Soph…………………2.3 PPG
Duane Notice-G 6’ 2” Jr……………………….11.1 PPG
L. Chatkevicius-F 6’11” Sr…………………….9.7 PPG

Coach Frank Martin has struggled through the past 3 seasons at South Carolina to significantly improve the Gamecocks overall and in the SEC. His first 2 seasons were painful as his record was 28-38. Finally, last season South Carolina achieved a winning record of 17-16. Now in his 4th season coach Martin has really made tremendous strides with the program as South Carolina has a terrific record of 21-3 and 8-3 in the SEC.

It certainly helped the Gamecocks to have 4 returning starters and allow the team to start 3 seniors and a junior which has provided a wealth of experience…. as they have now tied for the lead in the SEC. South Carolina is led by senior Michael Carrera who is having a great year. Carrera leads the team in scoring and rebounds and is shooting 38-78 from long range for an incredible 48.7%. Junior Duane Notice is also a very good perimeter shooter hitting 46-117 for 39.3%. Junior guard Sindari Thornwell leads the team in assists with 88 and steals with 35. 

Overall, this is a very good South Carolina team that plays solid defense and rebounds extremely well. In addition, this is a veteran Gamecock team that has very good size even at the guard positions. The Gamecocks are undefeated at home as they just defeated a very good LSU team….and also recently defeated Texas A&M on the road.

South Carolina last defeated UK in 2009 and has now lost 10 straight games to the Cats, including a 77-43 humiliating lose to UK last season. You can bet that coach Martin and the Gamecocks, along with a packed arena, will want to pay back the Cats and take over the lead in the SEC!

Kentucky Stats:

3 PT%-34.0%
RPG-42.0 (+5.9)

After the embarrassing loss to Tennessee where the Cats quit playing with energy and provided very little defense, coach Cal has put the team through some exceedingly physical play in tough practices to remind them of the importance of playing solid defense with great energy. So far, it’s paid off with outstanding offensive and defensive performances in soundly defeating Florida 80-61 and now Georgia 82-48. 

Both wins game without Poythress who is recovering from knee injury. On the plus side, this has given more opportunity for Skal and Humphries to get more playing time…and both have made positive contributions. Murray is playing lights out basketball as he has hit a fantastic 14-20 perimeter shots in the past two wins. There has been the usual great play from Ulis who continues to play like a coach at PG…as he scores and passes out lots of assists. Kudos to Willis who has provided a great lift to the offense and has been terrific on the boards. Importantly, UK got solid support off the bench from Matthews and Hawkins.

UK must now leave friendly Rupp arena and travel to Columbia and face a very tough South Carolina team that now leads the SEC, along with LSU and UK, after big wins over Texas A&M and LSU last night. The Gamecocks are 13-0 at home and will be sky high when the Cats come to Columbia.

UK is currently a poor road team with a 2-5 record away from Rupp arena including embarrassing losses to Auburn and Tennessee. It appears that coach Cal has the team focused on playing with great energy and solid defense over the past 2 games. The challenge for UK will be to carry that great energy and solid defense to Columbia along with the recent good offense. Winning on the road is never easy, but it is especially difficult when you face a veteran team like SC that is 21-3 and undefeated at home. Also, not having Poythress available won’t help.

I will pick with my heart and see a UK win by 4 points over the Gamecocks. 


This post first appeared on Wildcats Thunder, please read the originial post: here

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Kentucky vs @South Carolina....A Preview


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