Monday, February 04, 2013

Kentucky vs South Carolina....A Preview

Kentucky vs South Carolina 2/5/13 (Tuesday 9PM) TV-ESPNU
UK leads the series 46-10

South Carolina Gamecocks

Location: Columbia, S.C.
Enrollment: 30,271
Arena: 18,000

Head Coach: Frank Martin
Career Record: 117-54 (68.4%) 5 seasons
At South Carolina: First Season

2011-12 Record: 10-21
2011-12 SEC Record: 2-14
2011-12 Postseason: None

2012-13 Record: 12-9
2012-13 SEC Record: 2-6

South Carolina 82 UW-Milwaukee 75 (OT)
South Carolina 87 Morgan St. 71
South Carolina 88 Rider 76
Elon 65 South Carolina 53
South Carolina 74 Missouri St. 67
South Carolina 74 Arkansas-Little Rock 62
St. Johns 89 South Carolina 65
Clemson 64 South Carolina 55
South Carolina 91 Jacksonville 74
South Carolina 74 Appalachian St. 69
South Carolina 63 Manhattan 57
South Carolina 76 Presbyterian 60
South Carolina 80 South Carolina St. 69
Mississippi St. 56 South Carolina 54
Auburn 74 South Carolina 71
South Carolina 82 LSU 73 (OT)
Vanderbilt 58 South Carolina 51
Missouri 71 South Carolina 65
South Carolina 75 Arkansas 54
Florida 75 South Carolina 36
Georgia 67 South Carolina 56

South Carolina

RPG-37.1 (+6.0)

Probable Starting Lineup

L. Chatkevicius-F/C 6’11” Fr……..………………..3.5 PPG
Bruce Ellington-G 5’9” Sr…………………………10.3 PPG
Michael Carrera-F 6’5” Fr…………………………10.2 PPG
Lakeem Jackson-F 6’5” Sr…………………………9.0 PPG
Eric Smith-G 5’11” Jr……………………………...5.9 PPG

Other Key Playes

Brian Richardson-G 6’4” Jr………………………..8.3 PPG
Brenton Williams-G 5’11” Jr……………………...10.6 PPG

Certainly, coach Frank Martin shocked the basketball world when he left a Kansas St. program that he had going very well over his 5 years to take over a very bad South Carolina program. Martin’s answer is that he likes challenges….well, he certainly has a huge challenge in trying to turn around the floundering Gamecock program. A program that hasn’t made the NCAA since 2004 and a program that has won just 13 total SEC games in the past 3 seasons.

Coach Martin inherited just 2 returning starters and a roster of role players. As expected, South Carolina has struggled this season and is currently 2-6 in the SEC. Martin has had a number of starting lineups and has gone deep in his bench with 10 players averaging over 13 minutes.

Bruce Ellington returns for his senior year again after the football season ended. Ellington at 5’9” is a very quick guard who is the 2nd leading scorer on the team. The Gamecocks do have two very good perimeter shooters in Brian Richardson and Brenton Williams who are hitting 40.3% and 41.3% respectfully. Lakeem Jackson is hitting an eye popping 60.3/% from the field and Jackson along with Michael Carrera lead the team in rebounds…despite the fact that both are only 6’5”.

The Gamecocks are not a big team and are very much a guard oriented team. Until coach Martin can bring in some solid recruits, the Gamecocks will struggle against more talented teams in the SEC. Still, it would be a mistake to take this team for granted, they do play hard for coach Martin and have 2 SEC wins to their credit.

Kentucky returns to the friendly confines of Rupp arena after a very successful road trip where the Cats bagged a quality win against ranked Ole Miss and survived a bit of an ugly game against the Aggies. Nerlens Noel continues to play outstanding defense and had a good offensive game against Texas A&M. Julius Mays, who admitted that he has struggled a bit with his role at UK, felt that he was now getting much more comfortable and getting his perimeter shooting eye back….and that was evident against the Aggies where Mays had his best offensive game of the season.

A huge problem for this young UK team was the awful turnovers they committed, especially late in the game…..they had 19 TO’s and too many were simply poor decisions and unforced. Ryan Harrow has had some solid games at PG, but has disappeared in some recent games and had a poor game against Texas A&M. The Cats need Harrow to be strong with the ball and make good strong passes….plus Ryan needs to get the Cats into their offense. Harrow has demonstrated that he has good PG skills, but must learn to play strong with consistency….when Ryan plays soft it has a big negative effect on the team.

All in all, all the players have improved, but, with the exception of Noel, they all have lacked the needed consistency of good play from game to game. Importantly, the players have bought in to the hard play necessary over a game, but now must play strong and smart each and every game.

The win over Ole Miss was huge for UK’s resume for the NCAA tourney. However, they must continue to win the SEC home games and steal a few more on the road. UK simply cannot afford to lose to either South Carolina or Auburn at home!

I like the Cats over South Carolina by 20 points! GO CATS!

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