The Kentucky Wildcats are in the Tad Pad tonight for their next SEC contest, a road game against the Mississippi Rebels. The Wildcats recently took care of Ole Miss more or less comfortably in Rupp Arena, but I think we all should expect a more stout challenge tonight in Oxford
Bouncing back from a tough loss is one of the things that defines a good team, and even though it's tougher to do it when you have to go on the road, that's what needs to happen tonight. Letting the Florida Gators beat us twice would be terribly unfortunate. How the Wildcats respond in this game will tell us a lot about how strong their faith in each other is.
Essentials for victory
Attack the rim — This is Kentucky's identity; attack the rim and either score or get fouled.
Face-guard Marshall Henderson — I figure Henderson needs to drop at least 20 on Kentucky in order for Ole Miss to win. Kentucky is bigger and longer than the Rebels, so they must force the Rebel shooters to put the ball on the floor and beat them inside the arc.
Get Ole Miss' bigs in foul trouble — This should be a no-brainer for Kentucky at this point. It's easier to play against a team's second-string than their first.
Avoid sending Ole Miss to the line — The Rebels visit the free throw stripe less than almost any team in the SEC, and Kentucky needs to make sure they don't get there tonight. Ole Miss isn't great from the line, but they are better than Kentucky.
Rebound — Kentucky is the best rebounding teams in the SEC, and Mississippi is just middle of the road.
Avoid technical fouls if the game gets close — Okay, yeah, this is always a good thing, but I'm still raw about that one in the Florida game. Just stay calm, Coach, and watch your language, or the way you hold your ears, or whatever.
This is a game Kentucky should, and needs, to win. Road games are always tough, and if we see more ugly basketball tonight, I won't be surprised. At this point, I am way more interested in the result than the process.