Top-ranked Wildcats collide with Gamecocks in Columbia

Two teams at opposite ends of the SEC spectrum ranked Kentucky Wildcats take on the South Carolina Gamecocks at the Colonial Life Center.

John Calipari's Wildcats have just one loss on the season, a one-point setback on the road at Indiana. Since then, Kentucky has reeled off 14 consecutive victories, moving to 8-0 in the SEC with Tuesday's 69-44 drubbing of Tennessee. The team is off to its best start in SEC play since 2005 when Kentucky won its first 10 league bouts.

Darrin Horn's Gamecocks have had their ups and downs this season, but the SEC slate has been murderous. South Carolina has just one league win to its credit, a 56-54 victory over Alabama, but the team has lost two straight games and six of its last seven overall, including a 74-66 setback at nationally- ranked Florida this week.

Kentucky has dominated this series for the most part and enjoys a 45-10 advantage all-time. The Wildcats have won each of the last four meetings and are seeking the regular-season sweep after posting a 79-64 win in Lexington back on January 7th.

The Wildcats dominated the Volunteers in just about every facet of the game to continue their winning ways. Kentucky shot 53.7 percent from the floor, while holding Tennessee to a meager 28.1 percent clip. The 'Cats also outrebounded the Vols 34-29, recorded 11 blocks and outscored UT at the free-throw line 24-5. Freshman Anthony Davis continued his dominance in the low post, finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots. Fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 16 points and eight boards, while Terrance Jones finished up with 11 points.

Davis has certainly displayed the kind of low post game that rivals any in the country. The 6-10 youngster leads the Wildcats in both scoring (13.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 rpg), but also leads the nation in blocked shots (108) and ranks fourth in field-goal percentage (.650). What makes Davis so dangerous outside of his obvious interior attributes is the supporting cast around him. The scoring burden is spread out with four other Wildcats joining Davis with double-digit averages. Doron Lamb is a close second in the scoring column at 13.3 ppg. Kidd-Gilchrist is next in line at 12.8 ppg, followed by Jones and Darius Miller with 12.3 and 10.2 ppg, respectively. Kentucky can play shutdown defense as well, ranking second in the country in scoring margin (+19.9), 10th in scoring defense (57.9 ppg) and first in field-goal percentage defense (.360).

The Gamecocks have struggled to find production on a regular basis in terms of scoring, averaging just 63.0 ppg this year on a less than stellar .419 shooting. There is certainly no prolific scoring threat on the roster, as forward Malik Cooke represents the best of the bunch at 12.7 ppg. He is joined in double figures by guard Bruce Ellington (11.1 ppg). Anthony Gill is a distant third (8.4 ppg). Davontre Harris (7.0 ppg) is the team's top rebounder at a modest 5.3 caroms per game.

Ellington led the way in the loss to Florida this week with 15 points, on 6- of-14 shooting. Harris just missed a double-double with 12 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots. Cooke added 12 points as well, while Gill finished with 11. The Gamecocks pulled to within six points after burying themselves in an early hole, but the Gators converted key free-throws down the stretch to keep South Carolina at arm's length.