Tonight at 7:00 PM in Rupp Arena, the Lancers of Longwood University travel to Rupp Arena for the second game of the Finley Las Vegas Invitational.
After winning in convincing fashion this weekend, Kentucky has a chance to prove that they have learned at least some of the lessons from their early 0-2 start. After this game, the Wildcats fly out to Sin City to the Orleans Arena to play Kansas State on Friday, and the winner of Iowa and West Virgina on Saturday.
But now, to the Longwood Lancers. Let's start with a few facts about Longwood University:
- Location: Farmville, VA
- Nickname: Lancers
- Colors: Blue & White
- Conference: Independent
- Head Coach: Mike Gillian
- Series history: First game ever
- Record last year: 9-22
- Starters returning/lost: 2/3
- Lettermen returning/lost: 11/3
- All time record: 431-449
- Last NCAA tournament appearance: 2001
Probable starting lineups and statistics
Probable starters are highlighted in yellow.
|Longwood Player Stats||Per Game|
|Kentucky Player Stats||Per Game|
Players you should know about:
- Ryan Bogan -- The Lancers lost last year's leading scorer, Kirk Williams to academics, a significant blow. Bogan is the second leading scorer from last year and a 40% career shooter from 3-point range.
- Kevin Swecker -- The Lancer's leading 3-point threat from last year, he made 47% of his 3-point shots last year in limited action.
- Billy Robinson -- The tallest player and second-leading rebounder for the Lancers at 6'7"/200#, and pretty much an inside-only threat.
Longwood has already beaten Gardener-Webb this year, who in turn put a scare into Blake Griffin and Oklahoma the other day. Longwood should be significantly better this year than last, and added quite a bit of size in the off season. They are still a small team by Division I standards, but by no means tiny.
|RPI Rank||282||283||Sigh ...|
|Wins & Losses|
|Blowout (> 19)||1-0||1-1|
|Close (< 6)||0-0||1-0|
|Pts Per Game||77.3||72.2|
|FT Pct||74.2||68.8||This is better than I expected for UK|
|3pt FG Pct||33.3||28.9||Improving|
|Reb Per Game||40.3||37.2||UK has been somewhat disappointing|
|Off Rebs Per Game||11.7||11.8||Disappointing|
|Def Rebs Per Game||26.7||22.6|
|Assists, Steals, & Blocks|
|Assists Per Game||16||14.4||Not awful|
|Steals Per Game||7||9.6||Not good.|
|Blocks Per Game||8.3||4|
|Turnovers & Fouls|
|TO Per Game||21.7||13.8||Going down. Hopefully|
|Fouls Per Game||20.3||22.2||Foul fest?|
As you can see from the above, the main area of concern with the Lancers is the 3-point shot. UK did a solid job against Delaware State on Monday in defending the three, although Longwood should present a tougher challenge in that area.
The other statistic of concern to me in this game is that Longwood is a sneaky-good rebounding team. They are pretty small in the starting lineup, but they do have some size off the bench who can come in and grab boards.
The Lancers should be an easy victory for the Wildcats, but only if Kentucky is able to stay at home behind the arc on defense. Longwood has some dangerous shooters, and we all know that teams who can shoot from the perimeter can beat almost anyone.
Longwood is not known for bringing the heat defensively, but after comparing the game tape between Delaware State and VMI, I would press the 'Cats on every possession until they proved they could beat it if I were the Lancer's coach. We can also expect to see quite a bit of zone from the Lancers, which will put pressure on the Wildcat's post-entry passing, which has been anything but great so far this year.
The Longwood Lancers represent another opportunity for Kentucky to demonstrate what they have learned, and even though this game does not look difficult on paper, a return to any of the bad habits we saw in the UNC or VMI game could once again place the 'Cats in a position to have to win a much closer game than UK fans would ever like to see against weaker competition.