Welcome to the college basketball regular-season kickoff. Tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats welcome Dan Majerle and the Grand Canyon Antelopes to Rupp Arena for the first time ever in the inaugural game of the Cawood Ledford Classic. The ‘Lopes have come all the way from Phoenix, Arizona for the honor of being the #1-ranked Wildcats’ first victim of 2014.
What I hope to see tonight:
Defensive intensity — The ‘Lopes have a couple of talented players who must be defended, especially on the perimeter.
Good ballhandling — We have seen turnover rates in the 15-18% range against smaller teams. i’d like to see that percentage go down
Offensive glass domination — This is a team with real size, and Kentucky needs to be at least 45% on the offensive glass against them.
Extra passes — No forced shots unless very late in the clock. Move the ball, make the extra pass.
Defensive pressure on the perimeter — This team will be good practice for others. Force them to score over Kentucky’s size.
Attack the rim — We need to see 25-35% free throw rate. Their guards cannot defend Kentucky’s in the paint, and that means we should see a lot of free throw attempts.
Made free throws — Lower than 65% and I won’t be happy.
3-point shooting — Kentucky must become reliable from the perimeter. Right now, it’s their biggest weakness. 35%+ and I’ll be happy.
That’s what I’ve got. I know you have all been waiting for this, and it’s time to really enjoy the first weekend of college basketball. We get lots of it, too, because Sunday we get to do it all again against Buffalo.