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Connecticut Huskies @ Kentucky Wildcats (9): Open Game Thread

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Tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats play for their third pre-season tournament championship in three years. The first was the Findlay Las Vegas Invitational, last year it was the Cancun Challenge, and this year it is the Maui Invitational. Their opponent is the Connecticut Huskies. Details as follows, courtesy of

Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Connecticut Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Weds., Nov. 24, 10:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ESPN
Radio: BBSN
Online Audio
Live Video via ESPN3
Text Updates
Location Lahaina Civic Center
Maui, Ha.

Despite the lack of a ranking by their name, the Huskies have defeated the #2 team in the land, and one of the better mid majors in the land en route to the championship. The tendency of the Wildcat faithful, after seeing the 'Cats defeat the extremely talented and highly-ranked Washington Huskies.

More after the jump.

What UK needs to do to win:

  • Continue the outstanding offensive rebounding. UK has been very effective on the offensive glass in this tournament, surprisingly so. This is no time to stop.
  • Continue to attack the rim. In the last two games, Kentucky has upped their game in the FTR% statistic. That needs to continue.
  • Defend the Huskies primary scorer, Kemba Walker. Because almost 40% of UConn's offense is Walker and have limited other scoring options, face-guarding Walker would seem to be a wise choice defensively.
  • Keep the energy high. I was pleased to see how hard the team played last night late in the game. UConn is another team that has more depth, albeit young depth, than Kentucky, so they will need to continue to hustle when they are tired.

What UK must avoid:

  • Giving Walker open looks, or clear lanes. If he gets his average, UK is in deep doo-doo.
  • Turning the ball over. This is something that the Wildcats have done very little this year, but with athletic teams like UConn, the defensive pressure will be there.
  • Getting productive players in foul trouble. Last night, we wound up with 40% of our scoring on the bench for the last 3 minutes of the first half.
  • Abysmal free-throw shooting. This is likely to be a close game, and sooner or later, shooting 50% from the line is going to turn a victory into a defeat.

This is what we didn't really expect, but had every right to hope for -- a shot at the Maui Invitational crown. This young, inexperienced and talented team has really impressed a lot of people. If they can defeat another top-tier program like UConn, it will do nothing but enhance Kentucky's reputation this year.

This is yet another huge game early for the 'Cats. Let's cheer them on to a tournament championship.

This place is going to the dogs. Go, 'Cats!