After Kentucky won a nail-biter Sunday night against a sharpshooting Vermont team the Cats have just one day to watch film and get prepared for the match-up with Kansas Tuesday night in Chicago at the Champions Classic. The game will tip-off at approximately 9:30 PM.
Kentucky enters the game 2-0 after two games that were too close for comfort. While the Kansas Jayhawks enter 1-0 after beating Tennessee State 92-56 Friday night. Kansas is the fourth ranked team in the nation and will be a tough matchup this early in the season for this young Kentucky team.
While Kentucky has started five freshmen these first two games, Kansas has a veteran starting lineup with two seniors, a junior, and a sophomore. However, the one freshman they start Marcus Garrett is a good guard the will try to beat defenders off the dribble and score. The bad news for Kentucky is through the first two games we haven’t been able to stop guards from driving by and getting into the lane.
Keys to the game for Kentucky to pull off the win Tuesday night in Chicago:
Limit open threes
Kansas is a team that shoots the three ball well. In their first game they took 28 threes and made 12 of them (43%). As we saw in the Vermont game Kentucky kept trying to go under screens and gave Vermont way too many open threes that allowed them to stay in the game and have a chance to tie it with 5 seconds left. If Kentucky is going to beat win Tuesday they will need to do a much better job limiting the amount of open threes it gives teams.
Shoot more threes themselves
After the game Sunday, Cal said in a press conference that he would like to see his team take 7-8 more threes per game. While this team is not known for it stellar three point shooting it has players that can certainly knock them down. If the Cats can take more and make more then that will open the driving lanes up for this team to start doing what it does best and get to the rim and finish.
Limit second-chance points
When facing a team that is as talented and experienced as Kansas is the Cats will want to make sure they don’t give them multiple chances to score on a possession. This game will already be hard enough to win without allowing Kansas to have second chance opportunities to put points on the board.
With that being said, Tuesday's game is certainly a game that this team is capable of winning, but it will take a team effort for these young Cats to pull it off. This is also a game that I predicted the Cats would lose, if they do in fact lose don’t let it define the rest of the season because when March rolls around this team will be ready and I will take a Cal prepared team for the tournament over any other team in the country.