Hale McGranahan/Getty Images
Coach Frank Martin and the No. 24 Gamecocks will have their hands full on Saturday against No. 5 Kentucky.

Previewing Kentucky, plus RPI update after the Florida win; Jamyest Williams news

Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more.

Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.

A closer look at clash with No. 5 Cats

The No. 24 Gamecocks (15-3, 5-0) aced Part I of their back-to-back Top 25 tests this week — the final exam awaits.

Carolina heads to Kentucky to take on the No. 5 Wildcats on Saturday.

From Garnet & Black Attack:

Meanwhile, there are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Kentucky being good at basketball. The Wildcats are sitting at No. 5 in the latest AP poll and have been powered by a freshman that you may have heard of by the name of Malik Monk (21.8 ppg). And you may need to catch him while you can, because he’ll be one of the many John Calipari disciples to go one and done.

As if the Gamecocks didn’t already have enough to play for (You know, being the last team left out of the tournament last year.), the winner of USC vs. UK game will sit alone atop the SEC standings.

Would a win on Saturday be nice? Absolutely. Will it make or break the season? Probably not.

“That first-place battle Saturday at No. 5 Kentucky will get all the attention, but from a perspective of just getting into the tournament, the bigger games might be the two that come next: home against Auburn and at Missouri, a combined 2-9 in the league at this point,” says The Post and Courier’s David Caraviello.

Look for the Gamecocks to come out with the same energy and attack-style defense that led them to victory against Florida on Wednesday.

I hate doing score predictions for hoops but give me the Gamecocks in another low-scoring affair. Consecutive Top 25 wins is good for your tourney résumé, right?

Behind enemy lines

“The Gamecocks, 15-3 overall and 5-0 in the SEC, do not play what former Kentucky coach Eddie Sutton called brother-in-law basketball. That’s where you turn down the competitiveness in order to preserve a familial environment.”

Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald Reader takes a deep dive on the Gamecocks in preparation for the Top 25 SEC showdown on Saturday.

Tipton praises the Gamecocks’ toughness and attributes much of team’s attitude and grit to its head coach. Rightfully so.

For Carolina to leave Lexington with a win, it’ll have to rely on every ounce of its Frank Martin-inspired intensity and defensive determination.

RPI watch

The Gators were in the top 5 in RPI entering the game on Wednesday. How much did that valuable victory boost the Gamecocks?


Today in ‘Frank Martin vs. the haters’

Don’t bring weak Twitter hate into Martin’s timeline. He’ll zing you right back and make you look like a fool.

Related: South Carolina coach Frank Martin roasts hater on Twitter

This isn’t Martin’s first exchange with the online peanut gallery, but it’s arguably his best yet …

Lady Gamecocks 6-0 in SEC

Senior Alaina Coates led the No. 5 Lady Gamecocks to a 65-46 win against Ole Miss on Thursday night. The senior forward posted her fourth straight double-double, 15 points to go with 15 rebounds.

With the victory, Carolina moves to 16-1 and 6-0 in the SEC. The men’s and women’s programs combined are a staggering 31-4.

Guard A’ja Wilson returned to the starting lineup but looked to still be feeling some effects of an ankle injury, scoring 6 points in just 15 minutes.

“We knew that (Ole Miss was) going to hang around a little. No one is going to lie down and die on us; obviously, every time we play it’s a big game for everybody. You can’t beat them in one quarter; it takes a 40-minute period. I thought that we got up and moving in transition a little bit and got some stops and pulled away,” said coach Dawn Staley of her team’s second-quarter run that saw the Gamecocks pull away.

Jamyest Williams’ final decision

One of the Gamecocks’ prized jewels of their 2017 recruiting class has set a date and time to announce where he’ll attend school.

Related: Updating priority recruits Jamyest Williams, Brad Johnson

According to Brandon Sudge of macon.com, 4-star cornerback Jamyest Williams has set his Feb. 1 signing day announcement for 9 a.m.

Williams will reportedly be choosing between South Carolina and Georgia.

The 4-star defensive back has been committed to the Gamecocks since August but has been under heavy, heavy pressure from his home-state Bulldogs.

Keeping Williams in the fold is critical not just in terms of cornerback depth and playmaking ability but on a macro level as well.

Jamyest Williams-South Carolina
Jamyest Williams, a 4-star DB and Carolina commit, is getting the full-court press from UGA.

Get the Lawrenceville, Ga., native to sign with Carolina and Muschamp announces his arrival as a force to be reckoned with in the neighboring Peach State — stealing a top recruit right under the nose of his alma mater.

I can see this one going both ways. Should be one of the top signing day storylines for the Gamecocks.

Gilmore on 2010 Alabama win

In its latest My Signature series, Gamecocks Online highlighted former Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore as he reflected on the program’s monumental win over then-No. 1 Alabama in 2010.

Some excerpts from the post, via The Big Spur:

“With the coaches, it was business as usual heading into the game. They had a Heisman Trophy running back (Mark Ingram), actually two really good running backs (Trent Richardson), a great receiver (Julio Jones), and they had a great defense. They had a bunch of future first-round draft picks.

We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we knew the type of players we had.

I felt like we were meant to win that game.”