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Florida Atlantic @ Kentucky: Open Game Thread

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This is the official A Sea of Blue open game thread for the Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Kentucky Wildcats basketball game at Rupp Arena, Saturday @ 3:00PM.

Particulars of this game are as follows:

Mike Jarvis' FAU Owls come into Rupp Arena at full strength for only the fourth time this season, and unfortunately for the Owls, all three previous games have been losses on the road. FAU has played 12 games so far this year, eight of which have been road games against tough opponents such as Arizona, Davidson and UAB.

Kentucky comes into this game on a four-game winning streak and a three-game obliteration streak beginning with IU and ending, at this point, with a punishing 102-58 victory over Tennessee State. But FAU will present a significantly greater challenge than any of Kentucky's last two opponents and possibly their last six. As Carlos Monroe of FAU gets back into game shape, FAU will become an increasingly tough team.

Five things UK needs to do today:

  1. Continue the impressive defensive intensity. It has served us well by burying opponents under a fusillade of points and turnovers early in the last three games.
  2. Improve ball handling. UK is still one of the worst ball handling teams in the nation. Despite playing inferior opponents, ball handling statistics have only improved a little.
  3. Continue to play fast. Last game, Coach Gillispie said that he had never seen Perry Stevenson run better. That's a trend we need to continue.
  4. Improve rebounding. Despite having capable rebounders, UK has not been a particularly good rebounding team.
  5. Increase our steal percentage. That is another area in which the 'Cats could use some improvement.

Five things Kentucky fans do not want to see today:

  1. A return of the Patterson freeze-out.
  2. Unforced turnovers.
  3. Getting out-rebounded on the offensive glass, like we did against Appalachian State, Indiana and Mississippi Valley State.
  4. Bad entry passes into the post.
  5. Failure to be patient when attacking the zone.

Kentucky is superior to FAU in almost every respect, but this foe is tougher than our recent opponents and has a very good coach to lead them. UK is bigger, stronger and more athletic, but taking the Owls lightly could lead to an undoing of all the excellent work the 'Cats have put in lately. What we need today is consistency.

Go, 'Cats!