Kentucky Wildcats at Providence Friars: Live Game Thread

Willie Cauley-Stein had a great game in Brooklyn last season. - Jason Szenes

It's the Wildcats versus the Friars in the Big Apple tonight.

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Welcome to the official A Sea of Blue live game thread for the Kentucky Wildcats at Providence Friars basketball game. This should be a great test for Kentucky tonight, as the Friars are a very solid and experienced basketball team. Ken Pomeroy has them ranked at #52, which sounds about right o me. They have lost only one game so far, to the Maryland Terrapins, a quality team, and only by 4 points. Their last victory was over the Fairfield Stags by 9 points.

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Here's what I want to see tonight:

  • Better offensive efficiency. Kentucky was not efficient at all against the Eastern Michigan Eagles, managing only 1.06 points per possession. UK should be getting something on the order of 1.2 points per possession offensively.

  • Fewer turnovers. Kentucky turned the ball over at 26% against EMU and 17% against the Cleveland St. Vikings. So far, Kentucky has been very hot and cold when it comes to ballhandling, and most of the turnovers are happening on post entry passes. The Wildcats have to learn to be patient, and not force entry passes.

  • Better 3-point shooting. The reason UK has been so pedestrian from the arc is abysmal shot selection. This is not high school or the AAU. Take your time, move the ball, get your feet set and jump straight up.

  • Make free throws. Kentucky has been improving from the line, and I like that. I want to see that continue. 70% or above is the number we are looking for.

  • Defend better without fouling. The last two games, UK has struggled against smaller, quicker teams. Trust the help defender, stay in the play, but don't grab and don't push.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that Kentucky needs to increase their pace of improvement. This game could mark either the beginning of a championship team, or of a team trying to find it's identity. Last season, finding an identity never managed to happen at all, and the longer we wait, the tougher it gets.

Go, 'Cats!

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