I won't be doing any deep, serious analysis of this exhibition game, but lets take a quick look at some of the facts about our opponent tonight:
- Name -- University of Missouri-St. Louis
- Location -- St. Louis, Missouri
- Enrollment -- 16,000
- Affiliation -- NCAA Division II
- Head Coach -- Chris Pilz
- Colors -- Red and Gold
- Conference -- Great Lakes Valley (Same as Northern Kentucky and Southern Indiana)
- Overall record -- 496/552 (.473)
- Record last year -- 9/18 (.333)
- Last 20-win season -- 1990-91 (22/6)
- Mascot -- Tritons (Changed from Rivermen last year)
- Has never played Kentucky before, but notable historical victims include Arkansas once, Missouri State 5 times and St. Louis twice.
Chris Pilz has several Division I transfers on this team, including Sky Frazier (Missouri State, 6'10"/225#), Paul Paradoski (Southeast Missouri State, 6'0"/165) and Jason Black (Samford, 6'4"/200#). The top returning scorer for UMSL is forward David Ward, a senior and 3-year starter for the Tritons. Paul De Chellis is another senior starter. This team will be very senior-laden in diametric opposition to the young Kentucky Wildcats. Larricus Brown and Cody Kliethermes are both shooters who can make the long shot.
In case some of you were were wondering about Josh Harrellson, who comes from that area, he did consider going to UMSL after moving on from Southwestern Illinois College and getting his release from Western Illinois.
This game should be a mismatch both size and talent-wise, as you would expect for an exhibition game. Sky Frazier is the Tritons' tallest player at 6'10",but back issues will likely sideline their biggest starter, 6'9" Adam Kaatman. Kentucky can field a team that would simply tower over the smaller Tritons having no player shorter than 6'6", but I doubt we will see much of that.
I expect Michael Porter to start at the point, along with Patterson, Stevenson, Harris and Meeks, assuming Harris is fully recovered from the knee injury. If not, we could see Darius Miller start at the three, or Meeks slide over and DeAndre Liggins take the other guard. Who would be the PG in that lineup? Probably a little of both.
Gillispie will likely want to get the ball inside to Patterson a lot, and expect to see quite a bit of the high-low with Stevenson and Harrellson. I keep hearing a lot of muted praise from various locations about Jared Carter's play, so I expect him to see some significant minutes tonight. I think Gillispie will want to know early if Carter is going to compete, and Jared needs to have some confidence in his game ability going in to the season if he is to contribute at all. I am still wary of expectations that Carter may be productive, but at the same time, I was encouraged by what I saw in the Blue-White game and what I am hearing from those with inside sources.
I fully expect Jodie Meeks to run amok tonight, much as he did in the Blue-White game on Saturday. He is simply too athletic for the Tritons, even though they will be smaller and quicker in general than the 'Cats. I have no idea how the Tritons expect to oppose Patterson and Stevenson or even Harrellson, and my expectation is that they will try some double teams that result in back-door dunks by Kentucky.
I am anxious to see how some of UK's JUCO transfers and freshmen attack on defense. This is going to be the key to playing time, as it is for almost any good coach, and with so much playing time potentially up in the air, I expect to see them really get after the defense, and therefore I expect a lot of fouls. That may sound like a bad thing, but if there aren't a lot of fouls, I don't think Gillispie will be very happy with the intensity that the Wildcats bring. It takes a while to learn how to really guard hard without fouling, and so that figures to be an interesting subplot to tonight's game.
Another thing I would like to see is Liggins put up a few more shots. He shot the ball a bit better than I expected in the Blue-White game, and his mechanics looked rather more sound than I had seen from him in the past. I would also like to see both he and Kevin Galloway attack more off the dribble than they did in the Blue-White game.
Ok, that's about all for me, add your comments below and enjoy the game. Go Cats!