Before I hop on the radio for this KSR pregame show you can be listening to right now, I have some random notes ahead of tonight’s game to get you going. I’m going into this with no plan or structure; just some thoughts I’ll type out as they pop in my head while I wait for the ‘On Air’ light to turn red.
— First and foremost, I want to remind everyone that Colonial Life Arena is a very tough place to play when Kentucky is in town. I’m sure it was a cemetery for that Stetson game a couple of weeks ago (South Carolina lost to Stetson at home, if you hadn’t heard) but the South Carolina fan base shows up and shows out when it is the Cats. I’ve been to this arena more than any other in the Southeastern Conference and it’s always a wild time for this game. Try to keep that in mind if things start a little slower than you would like. Tough road environment.
— South Carolina sucks at shooting. If you’re looking for a stat or two to get you feeling good about the game, try these on for size: The Gamecocks are 338th in the country in three-point shooting at 27.9 percent and they average fewer than five made three-pointers per game. At the foul line they’re even worse, ranked 341st in the country at an embarrassing 61.4 percent on the year.
— Road Dog Watch: Tyrese Maxey has shined away from Rupp Arena this season. The freshman averages 19 points per game in UK’s four games outside of Lexington. At home he averages 12 points per game.
— This has absolutely nothing to do with UK, UK Basketball or tonight’s game, but… Titan Up.
— Johnny Juzang made the trip. It’s unclear if Juzang has fully recovered from the illness that kept him out of Kentucky’s last three games, but he is down in South Carolina with the team. It’s good to know he is alive.
— Speaking of players that haven’t contributed much lately, we need Kahlil Whitney to have a good game. Behind Junior Nick Richards, Whitney might be my favorite player on the team, but it’s hard to watch him right now. There is absolutely no reason a person of his size and athleticism should have stats of zero points and only two rebounds over the course of the last four games. He has to find a way to get involved or he’ll continue to see those minutes drop. Cal said yesterday that it’s “vital” they get him going.
— Ashton Hagans is currently ranked eighth in the country in assists per game. Anyone willing to argue against Calipari’s comment that Hagans is the best point guard in the country?
— Since sports gambling is a hot topic in our state right now, let’s take a look at that line. It currently sits at UK -5.5 and I think that is a little low. That being said, the crowd we discussed in Bullet Point 1 has me a little considered about tonight’s events. Whatever you do, do it responsibly. The total is 136 by the way.
— Your reigning SEC Player of the Week, Immanuel Quickley, has hit 10 of his last 11 three-point tries. South Carolina is going to dare Kentucky to shoot it, so let’s hope that hand is still hot. Game over if he’s making them.