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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Wrapping Up Summer Basketball Edition

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The Big Blue Bahamas trip has firmly established Kentucky as a favorite, if not the favorite, for the 2018-19 NCAA Tournament championship. Manage expectations? Are you kidding?

Vanderbilt v Kentucky Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

As you can imagine, I have a few quick comments about the Big Blue Bahamas, and I’ll just put them in bullet points to save time:

  • We have to shoot more three point shots. Kentucky shot 26% of field goal attempts from outside the arc. That is absurdly low by any standard, and for UK to be their best this season, at least 32% of their shots must come from outside. When you have good shooters, you have to use them.
  • I loved how many of the freshmen grabbed their rebounds with two hands.
  • I want to believe in Nick Richards, and mostly, I do. Last season still sticks a little in my mind, but if what we saw was not a summer mirage, he can be a real difference-maker. Also note his free throw form is not new — he shot 71% last season. If he can stay on the floor, he can shoot the ball.
  • PJ Washington looks better, but I was hoping for a little more than I got.
  • Immanuel Quickley is suffering from a little bit of underestimation. He wasn’t eye-popping until you look at his stats.
  • I want more from Quade Green. ‘Nuff said.
  • Tyler Herro is going to fascinate the Big Blue Nation like no player since Anthony Davis.
  • The first game, I saw what I expected to see, which was a bunch of missed layups, matador defense, and generally ugly basketball. That vanished as if it had never existed. The last three games looked like a team that had been playing for a month. Maybe it was the competition, but it’s hard not to be encouraged.

Finally, a brief note on ballhandling. I haven’t felt like doing a proper stats breakdown on this series of games, but I felt the ballhandling was exemplary for a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. The opposition did not put a lot of pressure on the ball, and when they did, there were a few issues, but not as many as I feared. That is a very good sign.

Overall, there was a lot to be encouraged about, and I know all of you are excited. So am I. We have to wait a couple of months now before we see actual games, but those months will be as anticipated as any since 2012. Yes, I know 2015’s team was expected to be great, but they had a ton of known flaws.

This team has far fewer flaws than 2015 did, but they have one big negative — lack of experience. That was not evident in the Bahamas, though, so expectations are going to be very tough, probably impossible, to manage.

That’s the way I like them.

Tweet of the Morning

We are too, coach. And speaking for myself, I was pretty happy with how well they played, too.

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