The Cats seem to be in good shape heading into Saturday's matchup with LSU. The team is coming off of a strong performance against the Florida Gators and could get Derek Willis back this weekend, so here is your stock report.
Stock Up: Skal Labissiere and Alex Poythress
Fouls are still an issue for Labissiere, but he had his best game in months against the Gators, scoring 11 points and grabbing eight (yes eight!) rebounds in 15 minutes of action. The struggles of Skal have been well-documented, but if he could consistently put up these numbers, Kentucky becomes one of the scariest teams in the country. Hopefully his performance is a sign of good things to come.
Poythress has been the definition of inconsistency. When he is playing well, he is very difficult to guard. Other times, he simply disappears just like he did against Vanderbilt (where he didn't score a single point.) Poythress came back and played well against the Gators, notching a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Strong performances from the front court greatly lessen the burden placed on Ulis and Murray. Poythress and Skal continue to need to be productive in their minutes for the Wildcats to be a Final Four contender.
Stock Up: Tyler Ulis
Coming off one of his worst performances this season against Vandy, Ulis was back to his usual self against the Gators, going for 19 points and 11 assists. He shot the ball well (5-10) and made two three pointers. Ulis is human, and he will have bad games, but certainly the Vanderbilt game was a rare anomaly. It's no doubt that Tyler Ulis is one of the best (if not the best) point guards In America, and the Cats will go as far as Ulis and backcourt teammate Jamal Murray will take them.
Stock up: Isaiah Briscoe's free throws
Isaiah Briscoe has to be able to hit free throws for Kentucky to do well in close games. Statistically, he is one of the worst free throw shooters in the country, but he shot well from the line against Florida. Briscoe made 5 of 6 free throws. If Briscoe could shoot roughly 65-70 percent from the line from this point forward, it puts the Wildcats in a much better position. I love his defense, aggressiveness, and fearless play style, but driving to the rim and getting fouled isn't nearly as productive if you can't make the free throws. Hopefully Briscoe continues to make teams pay for sending him to the line.
Stock down: Interior defense
I think this goes without saying. Anytime that you let one player dunk the ball nine times on you, that's an issue. That is exactly what Florida center John Egbunu did. Nine dunks led to Egbunu's 27 points. The sophomore from Nigeria is built really well, at 6'11 and 255 pounds, but Kentucky cannot afford to let opposing bigs have their way with them in the paint. There are plenty of teams that Kentucky will meet in postseason play with big men more talented than Egbunu. Kentucky will have to find a way to defend better in the paint.