Kentucky vs. South Carolina: Game Preview, Prediction

By Tim Letcher
Mark Zerof, USA TODAY SPORTS
Mark Zerof, USA TODAY SPORTS

The top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats visit the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday in an SEC clash.

Kentucky is 18-0 on the season and 5-0 in the SEC has been in a very similar situation before. In 2010, No. 1 Kentucky was 19-0 going to Columbia, where they were upset 68-62. Rest assured, Kentucky head coach John Calipari will remind this team about that game, where DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall scored 46 of Kentucky’s 62 points.

The Wildcats also lost at South Carolina last season, 72-67 in a game where Calipari was ejected. Calipari is 2-2 at in Colonial Life Arena as head coach at Kentucky.

As for this year’s ‘Cats, they are led in scoring by sophomore guard Aaron Harrison, who averages 11.5 points per game. Freshman guard Devin Booker, who has hit 20 of his last 29 three-point shots, averages 10.4 points per contest. All-American candidate Willie Cauley-Stein averages 9.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.6 steals per outing.

South Carolina had a solid pre-conference season, going 9-3 outside of the league. However, SEC play has been tough on Frank Martin and his team. The Gamecocks have lost four of five SEC games, and now stand at 10-7 overall and 1-4 in the league. Three of those SEC losses have come by four points or less.

Sophomore guard Duane Notice leads South Carolina in scoring at 11.9 points per game. Another sophomore guard, Sindarius Thornwell, averages 11.1 points, while senior guard Tyrone Johnson averages 10.4 per outing.

Kentucky’s defense will be the difference in this game. The Wildcats allow just 50.8 points per game, which is second in the country. Kentucky’s height and depth will be too much for South Carolina to handle. The Gamecocks keep it close at home, but they won’t have enough scoring to win.

Final score prediction: Kentucky 71, South Carolina 59

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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