I arrived yesterday from Las Vegas a little poorer in the pocket, but much happier about the Kentucky Wildcats. Not only that, just so I didn't leave empty-handed, the gods of Sin City thoughtfully gave me a bad cold to take home with me. How nice.
But it's game time, and we have to take a look at our opponent for the night, the Lamar Cardinals. I have decided to combine the pre-game and game thread together again. Here we go:
- Name: Lamar University
- Enrollment: 14000
- Colors/Mascot: Red and White/Cardina
- Conference: Southland
- Coach: Steve Roccaforte
- Record last year: 19-11, lost in the Southland Conf. tournament to Texas-Arlington in round 1
- Last NCAA appearance: 2000. Deepest recent run: second round, 1983
- Record this season: 5-0
- Game on: FSN South in Louisville
- Link to Yahoo! audio feed
Player Statistics and analysis:
**As usual, all stats courtesy of StatSheet.com.
|Lamar Player Stats|
|Kentucky Player Stats|
Kenny Dawkins, a 519"/155# senior guard is the leading scorer for Lamar and a dangerous 3-point threat, although with only 10 attempts, he is not a gunner from out there. His back-court mate Brandon McThay (senior, 5'11"/170#) has just as many attempts and shoots an even better percentage. Lamar's guards may fool you into thinking that they beat you with the 3-ball, but that isn't so. This team has lots of other weapons inside as well as out.
In the front court, Tristan Worrell, a 6'7"/250# senior power forward, supplies the needed bulk and is a low-post scorer. But Jay Brown, a 6'7"/23# senior forward, provides even more scoring punch down low and can shoot the ball from the perimeter as well, although he doesn't shoot there often. He also leads the team in rebounding avergaing nearly 10 per game. Ashton Hall rounds out the front court, a 6'6"/230# junior averaging 4.2p/3.2r per game.
|UK ||Lamar |
|Conf Standing||N/A ||N/A |
|AP Rank||N/A ||N/A |
|Wins & Losses|
|Blowout (> 19)||2-0||(100.0%)||2-0||(100.0%)|
|Close (< 6)||1-0||(100.0%)||0-0||(0.0%)|
|Pts Per Game||75.2||80.4|
|3pt FG Pct||32.5||32.6|
|Reb Per Game||40.8||41.0|
|Off Rebs Per Game||10.0||13.8|
|Def Rebs Per Game||28.8||25.2|
|Assists, Steals, & Blocks|
|Assists Per Game||15.5||15.4|
|Steals Per Game||7.2||9.2|
|Blocks Per Game||6.8||3.2|
|Turnovers & Fouls|
|TO Per Game||23.0||12.2|
|Fouls Per Game||19.3||18.0|
|UK ||Lamar |
Lamar is essentially a pressure defensive team that plays similar to Tennessee or Louisville, a team that will try very hard to turn you over. Dawkins and McThay are serious thieves, and these guys have had 21 steals between them so far this year. Sub Skyler Williams has contributed an additional eight. Mix that with the fact that Kentucky is leading the nation in turnovers, and I expect we will have a lot to moan and groan about in that department. These Cardinal guards are a mismatch against UK, and it will be very tough for the 'Cats to keep them at bay.
The Cardinals may try to create turnovers, but on the offensive end, they take extremely good care of the basketball, turning the ball over an average of only 12 times per game. Lamar likes to convert their tough defense into instant offense, and is a high-possession team.
Kentucky is a bigger and deeper team that should have an edge on the glass. The propensity for strong, in-your-face defense that the 'Cats showed against West Virgina will hopefully show up with them in Rupp Arena tonight. The Cardinals have no real answer for Patterson down low, and their small back court cannot stop Meeks once he gets a look. Our scoring will likely come from those two places.
Perry Stevenson needs to step up his game. Kentucky needs to see more rebounding and scoring from that spot, and although he is slight of frame, he should be capable of handling the shorter Lamar players both offensively and defensively. Ramon Harris also matches up well with the Cardinal players in terms of size, and if his ball handling can improve, he could have an offensive as well as defensive impact on this game. Harrellson is also likely to get scoring opportunities, but Gillispie is going to demand that he show some defensive prowess if he is going to be in the game long.
As you can see from the stats, Lamar is a good shooting team just like Kentucky. UK has an insignificantly small advantage in the free throw area. The Cardinals are also a good rebounding team, despite their smaller size.
Kentucky will have to bring their A-game against this team. They may not sound that tough, but they have good players, reasonable size and the kind of defense that has been responsible for both of the Wildcat's losses so far this year. This is actually a very good opponent for UK, and if we can handle the Cardinals' pressure, it bodes well for our upcoming tougher games against Miami (FL) and Louisville