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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Beat Mississippi State Edition

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Kentucky has a chance to knock off two top 25 teams in a row if it can beat the Mississippi St. Bulldogs in Rupp Arena tonight.

Vanderbilt v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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

Well, a lot has happened since I last had the privilege of writing in this space — Kentucky managed a road victory against the Georgia Bulldogs (expected, but never easy) and a very impressive road victory at Auburn in spite of an unconscionably bad late-game call by the officials assessing a flagrant-1 foul to PJ Washington on a play where he was clearly going for the ball and the contact was indisputably not excessive. I know this has been rehashed here endlessly, so let’s just leave that there.

So Kentucky is now on a 4-game winning streak including two home and two road victories. Before the season began, nobody would’ve been particularly impressed by this, but given the up-and-down nature of the team when the play really matters, it’s worth mentioning.

But the SEC this year has no easy games, and tonight, the Wildcats face yet another significant challenge, this time at home against the #22 Mississippi St. Bulldogs. MSU has been a surprise this season, and Ben Howland’s team has delivered some solid work, although they have yet to face anyone in KenPom’s top 20. Their best win of the season so far has been against Florida (KenPom #23) in Starkville, but they have notably had only one “bad” loss — on the road at South Carolina (KenPom #105).

A quick look at tonight’s contest:

  • MSU is solid on both sides of the ball, but they have not been as good defensively as Kentucky.
  • Speaking of defense, UK has really ramped up their defensive effort. Despite Auburn getting hot late, the Wildcats really put the clamps on their smoking offensive efficiency for 85% of the game. Maintaining that effort will be key tonight.
  • MSU shoots the three well and frequently, so running them off the line will be important.
  • MSU does not get to the line often, so Kentucky must do so, and continue to shoot a high percentage.
  • In conference play, UK has been a poor offensive rebounding team, last in the league. That has to change, and tonight would be a good night to do so.
  • If Kentucky is to have a chance in March, they must begin to become more efficient offensively. The current lack of efficiency falls mostly on poor 3-point shooting.
  • Kentucky is turning the ball over less and taking it away more. That needs to continue tonight.

Let’s get this done.

Tweets of the Morning

Seems that season-opening loss to Duke is still lingering in the minds of some.

Awesome.

Your Quickies:

Kentucky basketball

A team that can own the paint and the glass like that on the road against a top-16 caliber opponent [like Auburn] is going to be a handful for anybody on a neutral court in March.

Yes, but can UK bring that every night? We can’t wait to find out…

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