Kentucky answered the hype in its first two Bahamas exhibition games. They’ve won those two games by a combined 47 points. That includes Thursday night’s 23-point win as a nine-point underdog.
The athleticism, depth and talent with this team is through the roof. However, they're only cracking the surface of their true potential.
Here’s four things the Kentucky Wildcats could experiment with during their final two exhibition games in the Bahamas.
Keep Feeding Reid Travis
Travis has certainly struggled on the offensive end of the court, shooting 6 for 19 in his first two games in a Kentucky jersey. However, he hasn’t let it affect his hustle, snagging 13 rebounds, with seven of them on the offensive glass.
His shots inside will eventually fall, as he shot 65% and 67% his last two seasons at Stanford. While he’s a veteran, it’d still be a boost for his confidence to have a big scoring night in the Bahamas.
Pound the Paint, Efficiently Shoot the Three
The Wildcats opened their exhibition season with a raw 2 for 20 shooting performance from 3-point range. They followed it with a much more efficient outing, hitting 7-of-12 in their second game from deep.
With their size and athleticism, along with lack of shooters outside of Quade Green and Tyler Herro, their model for future games should be to pound the paint and take open, quality 3-point shots when the opportunity arises.
Keep Shooting Free Throws
A dark spot for last year’s team has suddenly been erased in what has been a small sample size of exhibition basketball. In two games, Kentucky is shooting 39-of-50 from the foul line.
Averaging 25 attempts per game is certainly a product of their aggressiveness inside. If they can keep their high percentage at the line, pounding the paint seems like an unstoppable formula.
Experiment the 3 & D Lineup
Kentucky’s depth allows them to go both big and small at any time during any game. They can run three guards with two bigs or two guards/forwards with three bigs and hang with anyone.
Take, for example, a miniature model of the 2015 Golden State Warriors. Obviously they’re less talented, but the defense of both Hagans and Johnson, combined with the shooting and playmaking of Green and Herro, along with Washington manning the inside seems like a dream lineup for Big Blue Nation. All can handle the ball, as well as switch onto most players in the college game.
Kentucky obviously has a lot of size and guard depth, so don’t expect to see this lineup often. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see John Calipari use it from time to time.