After an off day to enjoy what the Bahamas have to offer, the Kentucky Wildcats resumed play against Canadian college basketball powerhouse Carleton on Saturday.
Carleton has more national titles than any other North American college, winning 16 of the last 19 titles and has pushed several Division 1 schools to their limit. This includes victories in years past over the Cincinnati Bearcats, Ole Miss Rebels and even a 2014 Wisconsin team that went on to make it to the Final Four.
However, this season Carleton does not have their best roster losing to Florida State by 33 points and Northeastern by 13 points thus far in the Summer.
With that said, Carleton brought the intensity and was believed to be one of the better teams this trip, but Kentucky asserted their dominance over them in a 118-56 victory.
Let’s dive into some takeaways from tonight’s game.
Collins Is Going To Dunk on Everyone
Damion Collins has looked like a completely different player through three exhibition games. Coming as a lanky freshman, Collins had his moments but looked uncoordinated and uncomfortable for much of last season.
While still lanky but with a few extra pounds, Collins has shown newfound confidence and looks natural on the floor. In the Bahamas, Collins has shown the ability to dribble up the floor, make the pull-up jumper, and be an elite rim protector. Not to mention, he is pretty good at dunking too.
Expect Collins to be on the SportsCenter Top 10 a few times this season.
Defense, Defense, Defense
It has been talked about a lot over this trip, but this team just has so much length and it has bothered every team that played against on this trip, and tonight was no different.
Kentucky limited Carleton - comparable to a low mid-major - to just points and percent shooting from the field. Their suffocating defense also allows them to generate plenty of offense, scoring 45 points on 28 Carleton turnovers.
The Wildcats have played a multitude of different lineups during this trip, with nearly all of them being good defensively. With that said, Calipari will have a lot of options to choose from based on the matchup and how they need to defend.
Toppin Can Stretch the Floor
Jacob Toppin is a freak athlete, but as he learned from his NBA feedback if he wants to make it to the next level, he has to expand his offensive game. Through three games, he has shown that he is capable of doing just that.
Against Carlton State, Toppin made five of his six three-point attempts, making more than he did all of last season (4). Toppin also shot very well from mid-range, making five of six, including both pull-up and catch-and-shoot.
If he can shoot this well from the perimeter consistently, this will help the Wildcats be able to stretch the floor and do more offensively.
A lot has been said about Kentucky’s frontcourt depth, but Kentucky has plenty of talent in the backcourt as well.
Wheeler is proven as of the best playmakers in the country; Cason Wallace is a defensive pest; CJ Fredrick and Antonio Reeves are proven, scorers. Tonight, they all showed what they’re capable of.
- Sahvir Wheeler: 17 points (7-9 FG) and 6 assists
- Cason Wallace: 15 points (6-9 FG, 3-4 3P), 5 steals, 4 assists
- Antonio Reeves: 23 points (8-12 FG, 5-8 3P), 3 rebounds, 2 assists
- CJ Fredrick (limited minutes (10)): 3 points (1-1 3P), 2 assists, 1 steal
This Team Has Some Shot Makers
This game turned into target practice for the Wildcats, as seemingly everyone who took jumpers hit them left and right. The best part is, unlike the first two games when it was mostly Reeves and Livingston making them, this game saw Toppin (5/6) and Wallace (3/4) add to the fun.
Of course, Reeves was the top shooter of the day with five made threes on eight attempts, as he continues to look like an elite shooter from deep who could very well earn a starting role when the season begins.
If they can keep this up, Kentucky may be the toughest team in America to beat.
Now, let’s celebrate!