South Carolina plays host to the Kentucky Wildcats Tuesday night in a pivotal SEC matchup. The Gamecocks are coming off an impressive road win against Georgia earlier this week, while Kentucky managed to avoid an upset on the road against Vanderbilt.
The Gamecocks have a little more confidence heading into Tuesday's game against Kentucky. After upsetting Georgia in Athens, something no other team had done all season, the Gamecocks should be playing with a little more heart.
After having some discouraging outings previously, it was a sign of things to come when Frank Martin and his team handled a Bulldogs lineup that has March Madness aspirations. However, it'll take another stellar defensive performance plus some more scoring for the Gamecocks to beat Kentucky.
Kentucky is experiencing somewhat of a down year by its standards. The Wildcats are currently 14-3 overall and 4-1 in conference play with their only loss being against Tennessee in an away game.
The Wildcats have played fine at home, but they seem to struggle on the road. In Kentucky's three conference road games, the Wildcats are 2-1 with a scoring margin of 213-214 in favor of their opponents. Normally, Kentucky can handle themselves well both on the road and at home, but this year the Wildcats seem a little weak during away games. The Gamecocks will look to take advantage of that Tuesday night.
Some keys to success for the Gamecocks include keeping up with Kentucky's scoring, offensive rebounding and fouls. Kentucky is volatile when it comes to scoring. Some nights, the Wildcats will be lights out from the floor, while other nights they struggle to put up a lot of points. The Gamecocks will need a combination of defensive toughness and luck to stop the Wildcats scoring attack.
Next, the Gamecocks must control the glass, especially on the offensive end. With the shooting woes the Gamecocks sometime experience, it will be key for the Gamecocks to create second chance opportunities on offense.
Finally, Chris Silva must remain out of foul trouble. If Silva ends up spending a lot of time on the bench, look for John Calipari to instantly attack down low against a thin Gamecocks front court. However, if Silva can be productive on both ends of the floor, it should open up the offense for other Gamecocks to have an impact as well.