6 Kentucky @ South Carolina, Tuesday, 6 PM CT
The Wildcats, back up to 6th in this week's AP Poll, will face something of a formidable challenge when they hit the road to Columbia, South Carolina. Colonial Life Arena is a tough place to play when the Gamecocks are rolling; the problem is that they seldom are (in the case of the men's team, at least).
That said, Lamont Paris seems to have the Gamecocks well-positioned to make a run at an NCAA tournament berth this season. Standing at 15-3 currently, Carolina has fought their way up to 61st in the NET rankings. Most of their wins (and almost half of their games) have come against Quad 4 opponents—they are only 1-2 against Quad 1 opponents—but after how dreadfully things looked last season, Columbia could be seeing a resurgent MBB team for the first time since Frank Martin took the team to the Final Four in 2017.
Even so, Kentucky will be rightly favored to win this one. South Carolina is without Myles Stute, one of their top players, and the Wildcats just got a boost in the form of Zvonimir Ivisic being ruled eligible to play. The 7'2" Croatian prodigy displayed a formidable skill set against the Georgia Bulldogs last week, scoring 11 points in his first five minutes, as well as three boards, two assists, two blocks, and a steal in that timeframe.
Another win for the Wildcats is great for Texas A&M basketball; after winning their only regular-season matchup against the Cats, Aggie fans should be rooting for them all the way. This will also be a telling matchup when it comes to the Gamecocks; the Aggies also face them only once, in a home game at the end of February. Are they a legitimate contender to make the tourney? We'll know soon enough.