Samford Bulldogs @ Kentucky Wildcats (3): Game Preview

Will we see Terrence Jones tonight?

Tonight, the Bulldogs of Samford University will invade Rupp Arena and attempt to knock of the Kentucky Wildcats on their home floor. Samford is the second Southern Conference member in a row for the Wildcats, as the Chattanooga Mocs team that Kentucky defeated last Saturday night is also a member of the Southern Conference.

Here are the need-to-know facts about Samford University:

Samford Need-To-Know
Enrollment 4715
Nickname Bulldogs
Colors Red and Blue
Affiliation NCAA Division I
Conference Southern
Athletics Director Martin Newton
All-time Div.I record 484-601
NCAA Tournament appearances 2
Last appearance 2000
2010-11 record 12-19
SoCon Record/Finish 4-14 (6th in North)
Starters returning/lost 3/2
Lettermen returning/lost 9/4
Head coach Jimmy Tillette
Record at Samford 221-206

This will be the first meeting between the Bulldogs and Wildcats, but not the first time Samford has played against a John Calipari-coached team. In 2003, Samford nearly upset Coach Cal's then #22 ranked Memphis Tigers team in the Memphis Pyramid.

A Kentucky connection is Athletics Director Martin Newton, former UK Director of Basketball Operations and son of former UK AD CM Newton.

Team comparison

Kentucky Samford
Split W-L Pct W-L Pct
Home 6-0 1.000 2-5 0.286
Away 0-1 0.000 1-1 0.500
Neutral 3-0 1.000 0-0 -
Conference 0-0 - 0-1 0.000
Conf Home 0-0 - 0-1 0.000
Conf Away 0-0 - 0-0 -
Conf Neutral 0-0 - 0-0 -
Top 25 2-1 0.667 0-0 -
RPI 1-50 2-1 0.667 0-0 -
RPI 51-100 0-0 - 0-0 -
RPI 101-150 2-0 1.000 0-1 0.000
RPI 151-200 1-0 1.000 0-3 0.000
RPI 200+ 4-0 1.000 1-2 0.333


Name Pos Status Ht. Wt. Year M% P% ORat eFG% DR% OR% A% S% B% Notes
Drew Windler C Starter 6-9 195 Sophomore 56.90 26.70 106.20 60.80 13.00 8.00 17.60 2.90 2.60 1,2
Tyler Hood F Starter 6-6 210 Freshman 46.50 23.70 108.80 54.10 12.00 6.20 16.20 0.30 2.50 9,
Devin McNeil G Starter 6-0 180 Freshman 55.00 22.80 89.90 41.90 10.70 3.50 27.50 2.10 1.00 7,
Jeffrey Merritt G Starter 6-6 205 Senior 76.40 17.30 111.20 58.60 19.90 4.20 18.40 1.00 1.10 1,
Will Cook G Starter 6-4 185 Sophomore 68.40 16.10 122.40 57.00 17.20 4.70 9.00 1.40 0.00 1,6
John Peterson F 6th man 6-7 190 Senior 60.50 18.30 104.20 51.50 5.70 4.80 9.50 1.00 0.00 4,
Kaylin Johnson G Major Res. 6-0 185 Senior 36.10 16.20 75.60 59.60 10.30 0.90 4.30 0.90 0.00 1,
Raijon Kelly G Major Res. 6-4 175 Freshman 50.90 18.40 96.80 52.00 4.80 3.80 18.50 0.60 0.50
Levi Barnes C Reserve 6-10 205 Sophomore 17.50 11.40 49.00 20.80 8.80 3.70 2.70 2.80 18.60 8,
Matthew Friday C Reserve 6-8 235 Senior 27.60 18.10 109.60 56.80 8.90 11.70 26.70 4.20 6.40 5,
Brandon Hayman G Reserve 6-3 190 Freshman 15.60 33.20 111.80 51.70 7.90 31.20 36.40 2.10 0.00 2,
Connor Miller G Reserve 6-3 170 Freshman 13.10 14.00 93.70 40.90 7.00 0.00 19.30 1.20 0.00 3,
Hamilton Bailey G Reserve 6-4 190 Sophomore 2.10 7.60 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Gregg Wooten G Out 6-2 195 Junior Likely starter but injured and out for season


1 3-point threat

2 Offensive rebounder

3 4th game back from injury

4 Questionable due to injury

5 Good defender

6 Slasher

7 Point guard

8 Shot blocker

9 Redshirt last year

Four Factors to Winning

Game analysis

As you can see by looking at the above statistics and information, Samford is a small southern school in a large conference of small southern schools. They are not expected to be among the contenders for the SoCon title this year, and are a relatively young team with only one senior starter and four upperclassmen available to play this year.

Stylistically, Samford uses a variation on the Princeton offense, but relies very heavily on 3-point shooting. In fact, Samford gets over 50% of their scoring from beyond the arc, even more than the Chattanooga Mocs. Once again, this is a team that presents an opportunity for Kentucky to improve their 3-point shooting defense, learn how to defend through down screens that have bedeviled them since the North Carolina game, and tighten up their offensive execution.

Defensively, Samford does not put up much resistance, currently weighing in at #326 nationally in defensive efficiency. Samford is not a good FG% defensive team, they turn the ball over a lot, do a very poor job on the offensive glass, and are generally very passive defensively. Kentucky is likely to cut them to ribbons off the dribble, as they simply don't defend well off the bounce despite being a mostly man-to-man team.

Look for coach Tillette to dust off some kind of junk defense against the Wildcats, or this game will be over before the second media timeout unless the Bulldogs are hot from three, or the Wildcats struggle to make layups. This is the kind of team I hate to see UK play too many of, because the Wildcats are likely to come in uninspired and lacking energy except in the initial moments. It takes a lot of discipline to learn from teams like this, although as we know from Gardener-Webb a few years ago, taking a team lightly can result in disaster. I don't expect disaster, though.

One thing Samford does do reasonably well is score, and a lot will come off threes and back-door cuts that the Princeton-style offense is famous for. Samford is currently 3rd in the nation in made 3-pointers per game, and they shoot a decent percentage from there. That's why UK must defend the three, because the Bulldogs will absolutely let them fly.

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