Written By: Michael McCarty/@mick_mccarty
Kentucky plays Winthrop on Wednesday night. The Eagles of Winthrop come into the game with a 2-1 record with their only loss being against Vanderbilt. This is actually a better team than VMI but the odds of them shooting as well or UK playing as bad on defense are unlikely. With Winthrop having already played Vanderbilt this should be a good measuring stick for where the Cats stand as a team.
Winthrop lost their two leading scorers off their team from last year. They do have a lot of experience returning and consistently so far this season have played 10 players. They have made an average of 11 three pointers a game. Kentucky will have another struggle with a solid shooting team. The Eagles will be very undersized having just one guy over 6’8” so expect them to play the same way VMI did. They will spread the floor on offense letting the shot clock run down and will collapse in the lane making the UK shooters have to win the game from a distance. As with VMI this game is not going to be determined by what Winthrop does but how well the Cats play.
UK should dominate the glass once again. I think this is going to be a theme throughout the season. I would be surprised to see the Cats get out rebounded for the rest of the season. I expect Travis to have another solid game since that is all that man seems to do. Hopefully we can see some better shooting out of Herro and Johnson. Johnson’s shooting was really built up in the offseason with Cal even saying he was the best shooter on the team. That has yet to translate to game play, but even if his shooting is off I would like to see him have the offensive dominating presence that he is capable of every time.
This can play out one of two ways. It is either going to be a mirror image of the VMI game or Kentucky is going to come out with better defense and better shooting. I am leaning more towards the mirror image of the VMI game as the result. I think Kentucky is a special talent but has no defensive discipline at the moment. This is going to be a season of baby steps that will pay off come March. Kentucky 90 Winthrop 70.