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Maui Invitational Round 1: Oklahoma Sooners @ Kentucky Wildcats (12): Open Game Thread

Kentucky
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Tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats kick off their visit to the Aloha State against the Oklahoma Sooners out of the Big 12 conference.  Game details as follows via UKAthletics.com:

Oklahoma @ Kentucky
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Oklahoma Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Mon., Nov. 22, 5:30 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ESPN2
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker
Online Audio
Live Video via ESPN3
Text Updates
Location Lahaina Civic Center
Maui, Ha.
Maui Invitational With a win, the Cats next face the winner of Virginia-Washington at 9:30 p.m. ET. With a loss, the Cats will face the loser of Virginia-Washington at 4:30 p.m. ET.

 

Once again, the Wildcats find themselves in paradise, and for the second time in a row, John Calipari will be there at the same time — this time at the head of the team he and his Memphis Tigers beat the last time Kentucky was in Maui.  Irony never seems to die in college basketball.

For the Oklahoma perspective on this game, be sure to visit SB Nation’s excellent Oklahoma Sooners blog, Crimson and Cream Machine.  More after the jump.

Tonight, Kentucky must keep their cool and not let the hot, intimate setting get to them.  This is a young team, and sooner or later, that youth is going to show up.  So far, they have manhandled more experienced teams, to the surprise of many, but this is their first BCS opponent, and the level of competition goes up, albeit not hugely.

What Kentucky needs to do tonight to win:

  • Continue the excellent ballhandling and shooting;
  • Get to the line more;
  • Do a better job prying the ball lose on defense;
  • Keep the defensive intensity they showed against the Portland Pilots.

What can go wrong and set Kentucky up for their first loss:

  • Allow the intimate, warm venue to get to them;
  • Be lulled into a false sense of security by their lofty ranking and success so far;
  • Fail to show up on the glass;
  • Allow the Sooners to force the tempo into a half-court game;
  • Force shots.

This is a Kentucky team that must make jumpshots to survive.  They don’t have to make them all, but they do have to make a fairly high percentage and don’t force them.  When this team is relaxed and attacking the rim, they are extremely tough to handle.  When they are turning the ball over and shooting tough shots, they are much less threatening.

One step at a time …

Go, ‘Cats!


 




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