NBA Preview: Kentucky at South Carolina

Kentucky at South Carolina

Injuries and illness are starting to catch up with Kentucky, but the results have been pretty healthy so far. The 16th-ranked Wildcats look to win for the sixth time in seven games Tuesday when they visit South Carolina in SEC play.

Kentucky’s Quade Green (back) sat out the last two games while Tai Wynyard (back) has missed four straight, limiting the Wildcats’ options Saturday in a 74-67 win at Vanderbilt. Kentucky coach John Calipari used only seven players in that one with three of his starters logging at least 38 minutes. “These guys should be happy,” Calipari told reporters. “They got tired. … But you ask these guys, ‘Would you rather play half a game or play every minute?’ What do you think they’re going to say? ‘I’ll be good. I’ll play every minute.'” This is the fourth road game in the last five outings for Kentucky, which beat South Carolina by 16 in the only matchup last season.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

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ABOUT KENTUCKY (14-3, 4-1 SEC): While Kentucky has played fairly well of late, the team still has not scored more than 74 points in any of its last five games and has made a total of seven 3-pointers in its last two contests. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been productive in five of the last six games and scored 22 points against Vanderbilt – the second-highest total of his freshman season – while also dishing out six assists. Kevin Knox (14.2 points) paces five double-digit scorers despite playing fewer minutes of late, although he is 14-of-15 from the foul line over the last three games.

ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (11-6, 2-3): The Gamecocks, a surprise Final Four team last season, had lost four of six before slipping past Georgia on Saturday thanks to Frank Booker’s 17 points. South Carolina somehow won despite shooting a season-low 27.1 percent with the team’s five forwards combining to go 6-of-32 from the field. Leading scorer Chris Silva (14.2 points) nearly missed his fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and nine boards versus the Bulldogs.

TIP-INS

1. Knox (23) is the only Kentucky player who has made more than 18 3-pointers in the team’s 17 games.

2. Gilgeous-Alexander is a 47.6 percent shooter from 3-point range, but has attempted only one in the last three outings.

3. After shooting 29.4 percent from behind the 3-point arc as a junior at Florida Atlantic, Booker is up to 41.5 percent this season.

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