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St. John's Red Storm @ Kentucky Wildcats (1): Open Game Thread

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Tonight, the St. John's Red Storm blows into Rupp Arena to try to challenge the Kentucky Wildcats and their recent elevation to the pinnacle of the college basketball polls. Particulars as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:

Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. St. John's
SEC/Big East Challenge
Thurs., Dec. 1 - 7:30 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Rupp Arena
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | SJU

Coverage
TV: ESPN2
Radio: UK IMG
GameTracker
Live Video via ESPN3
Live Audio
Text Updates

With a number of top teams losing recently, including the formerly #1-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, this game is one that ought to particularly concern Kentucky coach John Calipari. Sometimes this whole ranking thing can go to your head, and even though Calipari denies it, you never know what these young men have been reading.

Things that Kentucky needs to accomplish tonight:

  • Continued good ballhandling - Unlike Portland, St. John's is much quicker out front and will trap a lot out of their matchup zones, particularly in the 1-3-1, which is the gold standard for trapping defenses.
  • Patience against the zone - UK needs to take their time, particularly Marquis Teague. He has a tendency to want to play too fast, and a game versus a team that plays a zone as their primary offense, particularly a matchup zone, requires patience.
  • Attack the offensive glass - Even matchup zones are poor rebounding defenses, and Kentucky should be able to get multiple shots. This is key to success.
  • Watch the fouls - The Johnnies parade to the line a lot, and UK is not deep enough to throw away cheap fouls. Their attacking style is something to be really concerned about.
  • Take advantage of St. John's miscues - The Red Storm will turn it over, and UK must take advantage.

In addition to all the above, it will really help if Kentucky shoots well from the perimeter. They should also dare St. John's to make threes until they actually do, because the Johnnies are a poor shooting team from the perimeter and they don't like to take them.

This game is at least the second most difficult game so far for Kentucky, and is one UK could drop if they come unprepared. St. John's is capable.

Go, 'Cats!