Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
Kentucky at Missouri
Sun., Jan. 13 - 1:30 p.m. ET
OK. It has been a dark weekend around the bluegrass. Rain, rain everywhere. Yesterday was full of bitter pills to swallow, and sprinkled with just a little sunshine here and there. Days like that are good for character. They make a person keep their priorities in line. Keeping us humble is a good thing, lest our heads explode and our expectations get out of hand. Right. Let's keep telling ourselves that. And while we are at it, we can pray that Matthew Mitchell and the women can salvage the weekend for the True Blue faithful. But it's not gonna be an easy task.
I want to make this clear from the outset today. Missouri is a DANGEROUS team. They are not better than UK, but they are DANGEROUS. They average making 10 3PT baskets per contest. That's 30 points a game from beyond the arc. Anytime that a team can fill the basket up from the outside, it makes life hard on a team that has a tough inside presence on defense. That leaves the 3 guards on the outside to play the shooters one on one. And if the press is not working to precision, Kentucky could have a really tough time keeping up with the Tigers. And since we all saw what happens yesterday when a shooter gets hot, we know that we cannot afford to allow Missouri to get off to a fast start from outside.
A few of the highlights of this team: Missouri leads the country with an average of 9.9 three-pointers made per game. They are one of just two teams nationally (Creighton, 9.5 per game) to average more than 9.0 3-pointers per game. They have made at least 13 3-pointers in six games this season. They have made 169 three-pointers as a team so far. Mizzou is third in the SEC, averaging 17.0 assists per game, trailing only Texas A&M (174) and Auburn (17.9). They are also fifth in the league in assist-to-turnover margin at 1.1, just 0.1 shy of first place (Georgia, 1.2). They lead the league in defensive rebounding (29.4 per game)
Mizzou hit a school-record 18 three-pointers against Auburn. The 18 three-pointers made by the Tigers on Sunday are the most ever by an SEC school, surpassing the previous 17 by Ole Miss. So there you have it. They are coming to play and they are loaded for bear, or Wildcat as it were. And if we want to leave the confines of Mizzou Arena with a W, we had best be on our game. Mitchell will have the troops ready, but they are coming off an extremely hard fought and physical game against Texas A&M, and hopefully the batteries are recharged.
Missouri has one player that UK must be able to defend at least enough to make her day difficult. Morgan Eve hit 11 3- point shots against Auburn in that performance mentioned above. She went Tayshaun Prince on a whole new level against those Tigers, and we can look for her to try and repeat the performance. Missouri has also struggled at times as well, losing by almost 40 on the road at Tennessee. but they are undefeated at home and want to keep it that way. Make no mistake they are not a one dimensional team, they just know how to play to their strengths. And UK will have to use everything they have if they want to keep their own winning streak alive.
When Missouri is good, they are very good. When they are bad (which so far has always been away from home), they are terrible. It's like a Jeckyll and Hyde team. Let's hope we are ready for whichever one shows up today.
UK will be doing what they always do, the way they always do it. A'Dia Mathies is probably going to get the assignment to guard Morgan Eve, and if she can shut her down, she will earn her money today. Look for Kentucky to try and get their own 3 point shooters free and let that 40 Minutes Of Dread do it's thing.
Let's go Cats. We need one today.