November 3, 2014 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports)
Observations from Pikeville vs. Kentucky
The Preseason #1 Kentucky Wildcats opened with a 116-68 win over Pikeville in its first of two exhibitions games for the 2014-2015 College basketball season. Here are some of my key observations from the contest last night.
The pace and energy for this game was fast. Although this Kentucky team wants to play with an uptempo pace, it’s imperative that they learn how to play fast on offense, while defending on the other end of the court as well. This Kentucky team must stop the basketball when it’s in transition, along with learning to defend the three-point line.This will be Coach Cal’s best deflection and steals team since he’s been at Kentucky. The Big Blue Nation are familiar with Coach Cal’s philosophy of him not putting any emphasis on his teams when it comes to getting deflections and steals. Most of his teams at Kentucky have ranked at the bottom in the NCAA in those specific areas. He’s had teams that focused more on creating tough shots, or getting blocks to create opportunities for easy scores. This year’s team will be different. Against Pikeville, the Wildcats had many deflections, with 8 steals while forcing 18 turnovers, that led to 29 points.Alex Poythress plays better with the first team. Trey Lyles will be good for the second team.29 assists with only 13 turnovers for the team. Although Kentucky played an outmatched opponent in Pikeville, 29 assists shows that this team has already bought in, the first game out. They shared the ball well with one another, and there wasn’t too much one on one going on. Point Guard Andrew Harrison led the team with 9 assists, zero turnovers in only 19 minutes of play. That’s a ridiculous stat line.Size, Size, and more Size. The height of this team is well-known. Let’s not get too carried away because Pikeville was a really small team playing without two of its big men, but this team should be one of the best offensive and defensive rebounding teams in the country. Why? Not only because they are big at the 4 and 5 spot, but keep in mind they are playing 6’8 Alex Poythress and 6’10 Trey Lyles at the 3.Bench Points. With Coach Cal playing a minimum of 10 guys in games this season, the bench points against opposing teams benches will be an unbelievable stat to witness. Kentucky’s bench outscored Pikeville’s bench 58 to 12.Get Rid of the 3 point signs and 3 goggles and fill Rupp Arena up with D’s for dunks. Now the team just needs to come up with some type of Dunk Goggle. 18 dunks in last night’s contest with the best dunk of the night going out to Derek Willis.Last but not least, credit to Pikeville, because they were entertaining and not afraid of Kentucky , plus KK Simmons can really play going for 28 points on 10-18 from the field while shooting 67% on 6 of 9 threes.
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