Written By: Michael McCarty/@mick_mccarty
So I have decided to pretend that the Duke game never happened. I am just going to move on with my life and be excited about this Kentucky game and not worry about the fluke blowout that we have already suffered. Friday night Kentucky will host Southern Illinois University.
Southern Illinois University finished last season with a 20-13 record. They return all but 13.5 points per game of their scoring. They are returning all five of their starters from last year. Four of which are seniors and one junior. This is an experienced team. They shot 35.6% from three point range last season and you know how teams like this always come in shooting hot from behind the arc in Rupp Arena. They averaged 69.9 points per game but did have a tendency to be sloppy with the ball turning it over 12.7 times per game. To be honest of I was this Southern Illinois team I would be coming into this game thinking they could pull off the upset. Expect this team to play very hard and come out with some confidence.
This will be our first look on how this Kentucky team responds to the man handling they received from Duke. Kentucky is either going to come out on fire and jump to a quick lead showing their loss was a fluke or they are going to struggle and show they aren’t as good as we were expecting. I expect Kentucky to shoot the ball better this game. With Cal not having to worry about match ups expect to see players taken out immediately if they look bad on the defensive end. I think that is going to be the coaching staffs focus on this game. The scoring should be fine but any showing of a lack of effort will get you bench time. This is actually going to be a tough test for the Cats. They are going to be playing a team with a ton of experience. You know that this team watched video of that Duke game and are going to come into Lexington thinking they have a chance.
Will they have the fighters to make a statement after being embarrassed or are they going to be timid having lost some confidence. The Cats need some strong play from the point guard position and their sophomores. Look for PJ to stand out and Nick Richards to look much better in this game.
Kentucky is going to win this game but it is going to be closer than many would like. Until I see the Cats shut someone down on the defensive end I am going to assume that is an issue. The Cats will win 79-69 but it will be close most of the game. Keldon Johnson is going to be the player of the game showing that Kentucky does have a superstar on their roster.
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