No Southeastern Conference team has shot more three-pointers in league play than South Carolina's average of 23.1. Kentucky's last three opponents have made 54.5 percent or better of their three-point attempts.
That convergence of statistics will be on display Saturday in Rupp Arena when South Carolina plays Kentucky.
"If you look at it, they're making tough shots," UK Coach John Calipari said of the opponents' good perimeter shooting lately. "They're going to shoot 30. If they make 20 of them with us hanging on them, then you go to the next game. ... If a guy's making hard, contested threes, you have to live with that."
No UK opponent has ever made 20 three-pointers in Rupp Arena. The record for an opponent is the 18 made by Sam Houston State last season.
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But the last three UK opponents — Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State — made a combined 32 in 58 attempts.
"I think we overdo the help (defense) sometimes," Josh Harrellson said. "Coach emphasizes help-defense, help-defense. Sometimes we go a little too far and leave our man. Just for that one split second, all you need is that one open look."
UK inspires opponents
South Carolina point guard Bruce Ellington made only seven of 32 shots (two of 19 on three-pointers) in the last two games. That extended a slump that saw him make only 17 of 68 shots (eight of 39 from beyond the arc) during the Gamecocks' current four-game losing streak.
South Carolina Coach Darrin Horn noted the calf bruise Ellington sustained early in the game against Georgia last weekend and how opponents key their defense to contain the Gamecocks' leading scorer.
Calipari reminded reporters how opponents rise to new heights when playing UK.
"He'll come out and make his first five," Calipari said of Ellington. "It's the game they zero in on. . . . You don't need to look at the tape. Tape is not going to tell you how they're going to play."
SEC refs 'the best'
Calipari gave a strong thumbs up when asked about the officiating in the SEC this season.
"By far the best officiating I've been associated with," he said.
Calipari added that he had no ulterior motive — such as getting a break from referees in the future — when he said that. "I'm not saying this for posturing or anything else," he said.
"Officials don't have anything to do with where we are," he said.
When asked whether fan reaction is a good gauge for determining the quality of the officiating, Calipari noted that strong reaction to video replays can be an accurate gauge.
An Internet report on Friday noted that Kentucky will be among the teams playing in a Naismith Hall of Fame event next November.
When asked to confirm the report, Calipari turned to spokesman DeWayne Peevy for guidance. "What can I tell them?" he asked Peevy.
Rather than deny the report, Peevy deferred to the event's organizers for confirmation.
"They'll release something in early March on when we're playing," Peevy said.
With a foot injury sidelining Lakeem Jackson, Malik Cooke made the most of a start at Tennessee on Wednesday by scoring a career-high 22 points. "Hopefully that can lead to some other guys playing better offensively because you've got another threat out there," Horn said. ... Ten straight opponents have outscored South Carolina from the paint. In looking to end that streak, Horn said, "We're not sure what that option is right now. The big thing is being an attacking team and trying to get the ball to the rim in transition and off the offensive glass."
Prospect Trevor Lacey plans to attend the game. He's considering UK, Alabama, Auburn, Connecticut and Kansas. ... Carter Blackburn and Mark Gottfried will call the game for the SEC network. ... The game will also be available on ESPN3.