Kentucky Wildcats Preview Capsule
SBN Blog: A Sea of Blue
Good Wins: UNC, UConn, Louisville, at Florida
Bad Losses: None
Strengths: Scoring Offense, Scoring Margin, FG%, FG% Defense, 3FG%, Rebound Margin, Personal Fouls Per Game
Weaknesses: 3FG% Defense, FT%, Turnover Margin
Season Thus Far: You know the story on the 'Cats. They're undefeated and number one in the country. The win streak included some close calls early on, but lately Kentucky has started to win by larger margins as its young roster matures.
What to Expect: As you would imagine, the 'Cats enjoy several matchup advantages against us. The key one, most likely, is their huge advantage down low. Simply put, we don't have big guys of anywhere near the caliber of Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins. Moreover, Kentucky having both of these giants on the floor at the same time will likely force us to move to a larger lineup, and we've often had trouble winning games with those lineups. I don't see how we can avoid it, though, as Kentucky will absolutely kill us on the boards if we don't.
The other key matchup to watch, and one you'll likely hear the announcers talk about more than the battle down low, is John Wall vs. Devan Downey. I expect that Eric Bledsoe will guard Downey for most of the night, but Downey will certainly guard Wall. It will be interesting to see if Downey is capable of affecting Wall's game to the extent he does those of other players.
Another interesting factor is that Kentucky hasn't always been good at denying the ball to shooters on the perimeter. If one of our shooters gets hot, we could find some points from three.
Prediction: We have to have some shooters step up to have a chance in this game. Particularly, Brandis Raley-Ross and Ramon Galloway are going to have to take some of the burden off Downey's shoulders. If they can, I think we might be able to keep this one close, and if we can do that, then you never know what Downey might do down the stretch. However, I think it's more likely that the 'Cats pull away at some point. We may play inspired ball and keep it close for a while, but in the end I think UK is too much for us. 8-12 point 'Cats victory.