Cats look to regroup against struggling Gamecocks


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari coaches his team during the Kentucky vs. No. 7 Alabama mens basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama won 78-52. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Ali Cetinok, Assistant Sports Editor

A tough 26-point loss on the road Saturday against Alabama and expectedly receiving zero votes in the AP Poll means John Calipari’s squad is in need of a confidence boosting conference win at home.

Luckily for the vulnerable Cats, they have a perfect opportunity on Tuesday night to do just that. Kentucky plays host to a weak South Carolina team who has yet to win a game in the SEC thus far, providing a chance to regroup before traveling to Knoxville.

The Gamecocks have had a hard history in Lexington only having two wins all-time at Rupp Arena with the team’s last win at UK being a 78-77 victory in January 2009.

South Carolina are actually much better at home than what their record would make you believe going 6-1 in Columbia with the team’s main issue struggling to win away from home. USC have struggled with losses in Charleston against South Carolina State who Kentucky beat 106-63 in Lexington earlier this season, Davidson and Furman.

With hard losses against George Washington University, UAB and East Carolina the Gamecocks are 1-7 away from Colonial Life Arena.

Losses at Vanderbilt as well as a 85-42 beating against Tennessee for the team’s only blemish at home this season means that South Carolina currently sits at a 7-8 overall record.

Lamont Paris’s squad currently averages 64.3 points while conceding 71.1 points per game with the biggest threat on offense for the Gamecocks is Gregory Jackson II (GG) a former North Carolina commit currently sitting at 15.7 point a game while also averaging 7 boards.

Meechie Johnson is also one to keep an eye on with the Cleveland native averaging 12.2 points and leads his team in assists with 45 so far this season.

In Paris’s first season at the helm in South Carolina, his squad currently shoots just 39% from the field hitting 31% of the time from beyond the arc.

With both teams having struggles lately a win for Kentucky would not only serve as a confidence boost but also push UK’s SEC-leading home win streak to 29 games.

A win would also mean that Calipari would be 17-4  against the Gamecocks, including  9-0 in Lexington. A victory would also be Kentucky’s 14th win in its last 18 games against South Carolina.

After a disheartening loss in Tuscaloosa, the fanbase and players are in much need of a dominating win. Kentucky should be able to do just that on Tuesday against arguably the SEC’s worst team this year. Luckily for Calipari’s squad, this is also on paper the easiest game on the schedule remaining providing a golden opportunity to shake off the embarrassing loss against Alabama before preparing for a formidable Tennessee Volunteer team.

The game is currently set for 7 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN2.