At home on a cold Saturday evening, the Wildcats took the court with arguably their two most important players nursing injuries. While that didn’t slow them down, it may have at the very least hampered some of their movement.
Knotted up at 31 half, the Cats entered the locker room with.... one made three.
They were 1-for-4 (Hagans with the one) from deep while Florida was a solid 5-for-14. It’s not just the four made threes that was the difference but more the willingness to shoot from deep that was alarming.
That changed in the second half.
That said, this tale-of-two-halves has been a trend for Kentucky.
They either play seemingly scared shoot from deep or just launching shots from downtown. However, if it’s anything to pick your head up about, it’s that the Cats can win even when they aren’t connecting from deep.
Just 2-for-8 from three when Immanuel Quickley took over with back-to-back threes, extending the lead to six, the Cats were on the verge of looking down a long final stretch. This time, it was their three-point shooting that helped saved them.
The Wildcats have shot made over 40% of their threes in nine games. Unsurprisingly, they’ve won all nine. Thankfully, in their worst four (Georgia, Ole Miss, Miss. State and Utah Valley), they also managed to come out on top.
Something else to notice is how this team plays when they’re at their peak. This isn’t a highly active team from downtown. They typically prefer to play in the paint and through Maxey and Richards taking their defenders head on.
Oddly enough, the Wildcats have one loss when they have shot under 15 threes. That one loss was to South Carolina. They beat Louisville, Texas Tech, Georgia twice, Tennessee and Florida all while not making three-point shooting a priority.
The numbers are flipped when they do hoist up over 15 attempts. They’re 5-4 when shooting over 15 threes. That trend is something to keep an eye on, and it just goes to show how this team is different than past Calipari-coached teams.
They need to shoot from deep but being more selective with those shots has oftentimes been best for them this season. That’s how they’ll go far both in the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament.