The Kentucky Wildcats have all the tools to become a Final Four contender, but some of said tools need to be sharpened for these Cats to reach their true potential.
That was painfully evident during last week's 87-77 loss at UCLA, a game that really wasn't even as close as the final score indicated. The good thing about that loss is it came early this season, and early-season losses can be beneficial for a number of reasons:
A. UK realizes they can be beaten.
B. Realize they can be beaten by bad teams if they play bad.
C. Realize they have a LOT of work to do if they want to become a true Final Four contender.
D. Take in the taste of this loss and realize how badly they never want to taste it again.
If the Cats do all of that, then this loss can ultimately be a good one if it's not on top of a lot more losses. No one looks back at a season and remembers teams that were 8-0 vs 7-1. They remember what the final record was when the season ended, and there's still 30+ games left to be played in this one.
As for what UK must improve upon, the most obvious one that that's plaguing most of the team is three-point shooting. Kentucky is hitting just 28.5% from deep this season, which ranks them 312th out of 351 DI teams. Jamal Murray has shown he can light it up from three at times while hitting 35.6% from deep this season, but this is an area that has to get better if the Cats are to become an efficient offense.
Something else that must improve is Skal Labissiere, who's shown flashes of being the dominant big man we thought he could be. But through eight games, he is averaging 12 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, and has no double-doubles.
During the loss to UCLA, Skal played only 16 minutes against UCLA while scoring six points and blocking two shots. He was pushed around in the paint and showed little willingness to fight back. For UK to make a big jump from where they're at, Skal needs to get going and play to his potential.
What do you think UK needs to improve upon?