The Kentucky Wildcats are 12-3 on the year as they enter the heart of their SEC schedule.
The first 15 games have been impressive for the Cats, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Playing with pace and spacing the floor, this might be the most exciting Calipari team to watch since his time in Lexington. The only thing is they struggle in two areas: Rebounding and defense.
It’s no secret to the BBN how bad these two areas have been, and the coaching staff knows those areas must improve as well. That’s why Orlando Antigua laid out a blueprint for how this team can improve during the Mississippi State pre-game press conference Tuesday afternoon.
“We have to impact the ball, and it starts obviously, with the point of our spear of defense, and that’s the guard has to initially get into the ball when the big calls the screen,” Antigua stated during Tuesday’s interview with local media.
“As the screen is getting ready to happen, we need to be in a position where we’re dictating where the ball is going. A lot of times, our initial point has been really good. It’s then when we release it, and then they wind up doing other things. It’s the secondary effort that we’ve got to get better at.”
Antigua also pointed to the youth of this team on the defensive end as well.
“When young players are at the high school level, the primary effort is enough. At the college level and other levels, the secondary and third effort where it’s at, and that’s what we’re learning.”
On rebounding, Antigua points to the Cats needing to get more physical to help secure boards on the first attempt.
“You need to rebound the ball to finish out the defensive possessions, and that helps your defensive numbers. Oftentimes, we are also playing three guards, so there’s the physical matchups there. We’ve got to be more disciplined and more physical when we do have a smaller lineup in there to make sure that we’re hitting bodies and creating space.”
With matchups against Mississippi State and the Georgia Bulldogs this week, it is the perfect opportunity for the Cats to make a statement in both categories.
The Cats have the offense to win a title, but can the defense catch up to be enough? That will be the question.