Cleveland St. Vikings at Kentucky Wildcats: Game Preview

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

The Keightley Classic continues tonight with the Cleveland St. Vikings coming to town.

Tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats take on the Cleveland St. Vikings in Rupp Arena, yet another game in the Keightley Classic exempt event. The game particulars including the TV channels it is available on, radio, and links to live stats may be found here at UKAthletics.com.

General

About Cleveland St.

  • Conference: Horizon League
  • Mascot: Vikings
  • Head Coach: Gary Waters (hired in 2006)
  • NCAA Appearances: 2 (most recent 2009)
  • Founded: 1964
  • Enrollment: 8230
  • Last season's record: 14-18 (5-11 in conference)
  • Source: Basketball State

History with Kentucky

This will be the second time Kentucky has faced Cleveland St., with the previous time being in the Cancun Challenge during John Calipari's first season in 2009-10. Kentucky won that game handily 73-49 with John Wall scoring 15 and DeMarcus Cousins 14. Nobody else on UK's team was in double figures in that contest.

Season so far:

So far this season, the Vikings are 3-2, having upset Iona (82), lost to San Francisco (172), defeated UT-Arlington (230), lost to Eastern Michigan (193) and defeated Robert Morris (174). The team has been very up and down all season, but mostly because of their defense. Their offensive efficiency so far has been adequate, but they have defended well one night and not the next.

Cleveland St. Roster

No. Name Status Pos. Cl. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
15 Anton Grady S* F So. 6-8 225 Cleveland, OH / Cleveland Central Catholic
21 Marlin Mason S* F Jr. 6-6 215 Detroit, MI / Cass Tech
1 Sebastian Douglas S** G Jr. 6-4 205 Houston, TX / Bellaire
2 Bryn Forbes S** G So. 6-3 175 Lansing, Mich. / Sexton
31 Charlie Lee S** G Jr. 5-8 160 Milwaukee, WI / Huntington (W. Va.) Prep
3 Trey Lewis MR G So. 6-2 190 Garfield Heights, Ohio / Garfield Heights (Penn State)
35 Jon Harris MR F Sr. 6-7 215 Twinsburg, Ohio / Twinsburg (Miami, OH)
0 Derek Sloan R F Fr. 6-5 210 Moreland Hills, Ohio / St. Ignatius
4 Devon Long R* C Sr. 6-7 260 Highland Park, MI / Crockett
5 Ismaila Dauda R C Jr. 6-10 250 Kano, Nigeria / Grandview Prep (Polk State JC)
11 Andre Yates RS G So. 6-0 185 Dayton, Ohio / Dayton Dunbar
20 Raphael Veira R* F Sr. 6-5 200 Cleveland, Ohio / John Hay
24 Ludovic Ndaye R* F Sr. 6-9 240 Montreal, Quebec / Westwind Prep
32 Aaron Scales R* C So. 6-9 260 High Point, NC / American Basketball Institute
33 Demonte Flannigan R F Fr. 6-7 240 Richmond Heights, Ohio / Villa Angela-St. Joseph








Legend





S Starter





MR Major Reserve





R Reserve





RS Red shirting





* Returning player





** Returning starter





Player notes

  • Sophomore guard Bryn Forbes is the current scoring leader at 19.6 per game, and is the most efficient player on the squad. He shoots 47% from the arc and averages 1.33 points per weighted shot. He has the 116th best offensive rating in college basketball.

  • Senior Jon Harris is the rebounding leader (6.4) as well as garnering the most minutes (30) of anyone on the team.

  • Sophomore Trey lewis leads in assists with 3.4 per game.

  • Junior Charile Lee leads the team in steals with 2.2 per game.

  • The Vikings have 3 players shooting 40% or better from the 3-point line.

Injuries

There are no injuries to report for either team.

Likely matchups

Starters

  • Charlie Lee vs. Andrew Harrison: As point guards go, Lee is a tiny one at 5'8", but he packs a serious punch shooting 42% from the arc. He isn't real big on getting to the rim, though (pun intended) and gets a lot of shots blocked there by much smaller teams than Kentucky. Andrew will have his hands full with Lee's quickness, though, so I wouldn't be surprised to see quite a bit of Dominque Hawkins if this turns into a mismatch. How Lee is supposed to guard the 6'6" Harrison is anybody's guess.

    Advantage: Kentucky

  • Sebastian Douglas vs. Aaron Harrison: Douglass is a big 2-guard, and even though he's not as big as Aaron, he's plenty big enough. He doesn't shoot much for a 2 guard, but when he does, he makes them. He should be able to guard Harrison, but Harrison is a much more dangerous offensive player.

    Advantage: Kentucky

  • Bryn Forbes vs. James Young: Forbes is a dangerous scorer who gets it doen inside and out. He is a skilled and efficient scorer who does one thing exceptionally well — puts the ball in the basket from everywhere. He is a 97% free throw shooter, a 47% 2-point shooter despite is 6'3" size, and a 47% shooter from long range. Young must guard this guy for all it's worth, but he has the size and skill to do it. Forbes is no match defensively for James Young on offense.

    Advantage: Kentucky

  • Marlin Mason vs. Julius Randle: This is another one of those mismatches that argue for a lot of zone out of the Vikings. Mason is no match for Randle in any aspect of basketball.

    Advantage: Kentucky

  • Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Anton Grady: This is the most even matchup the Vikings have, and even though I know Lee has been starting games, WCS gets all the minutes that count. Grady is a good rebounder and is big enough to block out WCS on the glass. He isn't much of an offensive player except for put backs and post ups, but he has good size and decent skill.

    Advantage: Kentucky

Bench

The Vikings really only go about seven deep, with a reserve guard Trey Lewis, and a reserve forward Jon Harris. Harris is a good rebounder and shot blocker, and Lewis is the leading assist man for the Vikings. Overall, though, Kentucky has more and better players available on the bench.

Advantage: Kentucky

Game analysis

Statistically, Kentucky is superior in virtually every aspect other than free throw shooting, where Cleveland St. has a modest advantage.. Kentucky has a particularly strong advantage in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Even the Vikings best game to date in terms of offensive efficiency (Kenpom.com) is barely superior to Kentucky's average 119-125, and they have never once reached the Wildcats defensive average efficiency of 94.9.

Cleveland St. has some nice players, and Forbes, in particular, can give Kentucky a lot of trouble if they don't guard him very closely. Also, 3 out of the 5 players who shoot free throws most often are very good shooters, all over 80%. Putting the Vikings on the line would not be a good idea at all.

I expect Kentucky to win this game fairly convincingly tomorrow, but Cleveland St. is well coached, if young, and Kentucky can't afford to take them lightly.

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