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Kentucky Basketball: UK — Northern Kentucky Preview

Northern Kentucky is small, but they can shoot from the outside.

The Norse gave a good account of themselves against Purdue.
The Norse gave a good account of themselves against Purdue.
Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Today, the Wildcats welcome the Northern Kentucky Norse. For some reason, I always want to call them the Norks. The North Koreans should be proud.

Anyway, to the Norse. Northern Kentucky and Kentucky have met on one previous occasion, back in 2004 in an exhibition contest. Kentucky won 91-73.

Norse facts

  • Northern Kentucky is in the process of transitioning from Division II to Division I in college athletics. It will be granted full Division I membership in 2016.

  • Northern Kentucky's basketball program first began in 1971

  • Northern Kentucky has played in 12 NCAA Division II Tournaments, and played for the championship in back-to-back years in 1995 and 1996.

  • Since 2004, when the current coach Dave Bezold has seen the Norse participate in three NCAA tournaments: 2009, 2011 and 2012.

  • This will be the second season as a transitional Division I member for the Norse.

  • The Norse return only one starter, and only five lettermen from last year's squad


2 Jordan Jackson S G 6-2 180 Jr. St. Paul, Minn. / Henry Sibley Williston (N.D.) State
10 Tyler White S G 6-3 180 So. Lima, Ohio / Lima Senior
21 Jalen Billups S F/C 6-6 240 So. Cincinnati, Ohio / Shroder
23 Todd Johnson S G 5-9 170 So. Elkhart, Ind. / Memorial
25 Cole Murray S G 6-7 190 Fr. Delphi, Ind. / Delphi
1 Jack Flournoy MR F 6-6 210 So. Mt. Hope, W.Va. / Woodberry Forest
5 Matt Rosenwinkel R G 6-2 200 Fr. Rochelle, Ill. / Rochelle Township
15 Daniel Camps R F 6-5 220 Fr. Fayetteville, N.C. / Jack Britt
20 Jake Giesler MR C 6-7 230 So. Ft. Thomas, Ky. / Newport Central Catholic Jacksonville
24 Chad Jackson R G 6-4 195 Sr. Lexington, Ky. / Scott County James Madison
33 Anthony Monaco MR G 6-4 185 So. Dover, Ohio / Dover
35 Deontae Cole MR F 6-6 190 Fr. Toledo, Ohio / Central Catholic
40 Jared Bryant R F/C 6-7 240 Jr. Cincinnati, Ohio / Roger Bacon Chattanooga
44 Dean Danos R G 5-11 160 Fr. Oak Lawn, Ill. / Bishop Noll (Ind.)


MR = major reserve

R = Reserve

Team notes

  • Leading scorer: Jordan Jackson
  • Leading rebounder: Todd Jackson
  • Assist leader: Jordan Jackson
  • Steals leader: Todd Jackson
  • Main 3-point threats:
    • Todd Jackson
    • Jack Flournoy
    • Tyler White

Game analysis

The Norse are very much smaller than Kentucky at every position, just as they were the Purdue Boilermakers, who barely escaped defeat at the hands of the Norse on Friday, 77-76.

Now, before you go thinking that was probably due to a foul-fest, don't. Only 32 fouls were called in that game, and the Norse got to Purdue in the simplest, most natural way possible — by almost outscoring them. Using Ken Pomeroy's numbers, the Norse scored 1.19 points/possession, and shot 50% from the 3-point line, which they had to do in order to be competitive — NKY managed only 38% from 2 point range.

So the key to this game for the Wildcats is to make the Norse into drivers, and force them so shoot shots inside the arc. That means staying home on every perimeter player and trusting the defensive rotation to challenge shots inside.

From an offensive standpoint, the Wildcats should have little to fear from the Norse. Purdue dominated Northern Kentucky inside the paint, going 20-43 from inside the arc and shooting 47% from there. But the Norse rebounded the ball very effectively against the much larger Purdue team, and it will be important for the Wildcats to keep the smaller, quicker Norse off the offensive glass.

Overall, Kentucky should have little to fear from the Norse. While quick, Norther Kentucky is not as athletic or long as the Wildcats, to a much greater extent even than Purdue was, and that will take it's toll. Not only that, Kentucky is vastly more talented than Purdue, so don't expect this game to be competitive for too long.