Welcome to the unofficial beginning of the 2014-15 basketball season and Big Blue Bahamas begin, and Kentucky takes on the Puerto Rican National Team’s second squad. These young Kentucky Wildcats will have their hands full with these older, more experienced men, many of whom play basketball for a living somewhere.
This will serve as both the pregame and open game threads. Your humble correspondent will be with you only in spirit today, as I am headed out to rainy Valhalla to watch the final round of the PGA Championship. That should be interesting.
Opponent: Puerto Rican National Team reserves
Location: Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, Bahamas
Radio: UK/IMG Radio
Here are the things that you should probably look for:
How do the veteran players look? The older players should look older and be more comfortable out there. Have the gotten noticeably stronger/bigger/better?
How do the young players look? Do they fit in, or do they have a lot of the "deer in the headlights" thing going on?
Is the team physical? It’s a fair bet that the Puerto Rican team will be very physical and try to push these young guys around. How much of that actually happens?
Does the offense look like an offense? Does their seem to be a coherent strategy when Kentucky has the ball, or is it just AAU-style stuff?
Do the players get into a defensive stance and defend? I’m okay if some of them get beat, but I’m not okay if they stand straight up and get beat.
Any glass-eaters out there? Rebounding has been a key for Kentucky’s successful teams. Does this team look capable of rebounding well?
Transition defense. No explanation needed.
Willing passers — are there any black holes out there when it comes to getting the ball?
Body language — this was a big deal last season. Do we have the right body language? Are heads hanging after bad plays?
Are we having fun? Basketball teams need to have fun.
Obviously, we want to win every game, but the first few, halting steps of any team are always anything but smooth. If this team will work very hard from the outset, it really makes us all more hopeful for the season, win or lose in these games, and we will likely lose some of them.
Talk about it, and enjoy it. Keith will have the postmortem shortly after the game. When I get back later tonight and have a chance to watch the game, I’ll add in my observations as well.
Enjoy the game.