John Templon blogs over at Big Apple Buckets about New York basketball as well as doing some work for Basketball Prospectus. John was kind enough to do a Q&A with us about tonight's basketball game between the Long Island U. Blackbirds and Kentucky Wildcats.
You can peruse my answers to John's question here at Big Apple Buckets, along with some other interesting commentary on tonight's game.
So let's get to it, shall we?
A Sea of Blue: Looking at LIU's starting five, who is the one player that Kentucky isneeds to be particularly aware of on offense. On defense?
A Sea of Blue: Long Island figured to be a much better team than 0-3 this season, even though two of the three losses could have gone the other way. Is this just the bounce of the ball, or is the team not quite as ready as we may have counted on?
A Sea of Blue: A lot of people may not know this, but LIU and Kentucky have played 3 times previous to this meeting, and the Wildcats are 2-1, with the loss coming in 1939, although the teams haven't met since 1947. How do you think LIU fans feel about renewing short series with the Wildcats this year? What do you think their consensus is of Kentucky's program?
A Sea of Blue: How does Long Island like to play the game, and what can Kentucky fans expect to see, scheme wise, offensively and defensively?
In addition to John's commentary and his excellent post, let's take a look at the Four Factors to Winning:
What do we see here that should give us concern? First, and most importantly, the Blackbirds do a better job on the offensive glass than Kentucky does. You will recall that Kentucky has struggled in this statistic, to their ultimate woe, so far this year. Allowing teams to dominate them on the glass has placed games that should be uncompetitive within the reach of opponents. LIU is not a great rebounding team, by any means, but they are better than the Wildcats have been.
The other area to be aware of is LIU's excellent ballhandling. So far this year, the Blackbirds have distinguished themselves in this characteristic, ninth best in the nation. That is generally emblematic of a team that does not beat themselves.
What LIU has not done well this year is stop opponents from scoring. They are allowing teams to shoot over 58% in effective field goal percentage, and allowing opponents to shoot 40% from three. Kentucky has had no problem doing either one.