No. 18 Kentucky basketball will play at South Carolina on January 16, 2018. Find game time, TV channel and how to watch online below.
These Gamecocks don’t have the same squad that made a stunning run to the Final Four last season. They lost three of their top four scorers — including Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier to the NBA — dropped a non-conference game to Illinois State and opened SEC play 1-3.
But now they’re coming off a surprise win at Georgia, and the Wildcats have come to always expect one thing from Frank Martin-coached teams.
“They’re really physical. They’re going to try to rough us up. They’re going to try to make it hard for guys like Kevin Knox because Kevin has shown a tendency to shy away from contact,” UK assistant coach Kenny Payne said. “Well, every day in practice that’s why we’ve got Jarred Vanderbilt guarding Kevin Knox. ‘Jarred, as much as you can, push him. Bump him. Be as physical as you can with him.’ Because when he gets that …”
But Knox, who has scored 32 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field and 10-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line the last two games, is not the only one who needs to be ready for a brawl Tuesday. The Gamecocks average 18.8 fouls per game — more than 214 other Division I teams — and 12.5 offensive rebounds per game (fourth-most in the SEC).
“Who’s hitting who first? Are they hitting you? Are they attacking you? Are they pushing you under the basket? Well, if that’s happening then they’re going to get offensive rebounds,” Payne said. “Second thing is defensively, they’re going to try to take you out of offense. They’re going to try to rough you up off screens. They’re going to try to get up inside of you when you’re handling the ball. They’re going to deny passes.
“You have to meet every pass. You have to step over the defender, come to the pass, catch it, be strong with the ball and make good decisions.”
That last part goes for head coach John Calipari, too. He has been ejected at South Carolina twice in the last four seasons — and it took less than three minutes of game clock to achieve that feat in 2015-16.
“I said, ‘Cal, don’t put me out there with these puppies,’ ” Payne said.
Kentucky-South Carolina game time, details
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Date: Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018
- Location: Colonial Life Arena (18,000), Columbia, S.C.
- Records: Kentucky 14-3, 4-1 SEC, South Carolina 11-6, 2-3
- Favorite: Kentucky by 2 1/2
What TV channel is Kentucky-South Carolina on?
You can watch Kentucky vs. South Carolina on ESPN. Joe Tessitore, Sean Farnham and Laura Rutledge will be on the call.
How can I watch Kentucky-South Carolina online?
Stream Kentucky vs. South Carolina on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.
How can I listen to Kentucky-South Carolina on the radio?
Kentucky and South Carolina will be broadcast on the UK Sports Network. That’s 630-AM on Lexington radio and can be streamed at iHeart Radio. You can also listen on XM channel 191 and Sirius channel 138.
Kentucky-South Carolina preview
- He hasn’t started a game this season. He’s seventh on the team in points and sixth in minutes. But sophomore Wenyen Gabriel has become the guts and glue of this young team, making hustle play after hustle play (and sinking timely 3-pointer after timely 3-pointer) just when the freshmen need him. “His energy, his effort and what he’s giving us on the floor, just the fight of it, is an example of what we need every player to do.”
- What’s wrong with 5-star freshman 7-footer Nick Richards? He’s averaging just 13 minutes, 3.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in SEC play. Assistant coach and big-man specialist Kenny Payne, who also addressed the buzz about him as a potential head coaching candidate at his alma mater Louisville, swears the staff has not lost faith in Richards. That he is well-trained and plenty skilled. But he has “made the pivotal mistake that all young players make: They begin to think too much.”
- Payne also gave the most detailed and encouraging update yet on 5-star freshman Jarred Vanderbilt, who is attempting to come back from a third left foot injury in two years and has become a polarizing figure with the fan base. He’s cleared to play, but coaches say it’s up to him when he does — that he has a mental hurdle still to clear. “It’s wrong for adults to force a kid to do anything when they don’t feel like they are ready yet,” said Payne, who also raved about Vanderbilt’s skills. “His speed is unbelievable … he can really move … an exceptional ball handler … literally like a point forward.”
- Oh, by the way, Kentucky has been playing the last two games without its starting point guard, Quade Green, who tweaked his back. Because Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been so good — “our best player, by far,” Payne says plainly — and the Wildcats have won both without Green, it’s easy to overlook how much they need him. He’s one of the team’s best free-throw and 3-point shooters and takes care of the ball, all things UK could’ve used in its near-collapses the last two games. Here’s the latest update on his status and when he might return.