We, as Kentucky fans, are the most knowledgable fans in all of college basketball. We understand the intricacies of the game and, win or lose, pick the Cats’ performance apart. And I believe most of us could draw up a pretty good strategy as to how to beat UK (executing that strategy is another matter). I’m sure Friend of KSR and SI.com writer Seth Davis could do the same, but in a recent piece he interviewed many coaches to get their gameplans to beat 19 different teams. Here was one (nameless) coach’s opinion on how to take down the Cats:
The main question with them is obviously their inexperience. Regardless of what people say, freshmen are freshmen, and all it takes is one freshman moment in a single-elimination tournament to end your season. The second thing is their perimeter shooting. Statistically their percentages are respectable, but their volume of outside shots is not high. Nobody gets up and down the floor like John Wall, but when you get into the tournament, the pace tends to slow down. Teams that are averaging 75 points a game are going to get 70 or fewer. If people put a premium on possessions, they are going to have to make perimeter shots. DeMarcus Cousins’ emergence offensively has taken the focal point off of Wall, and to [John] Calipari’s credit they’re going more inside-out. Against Wall, you have to change your looks and try to get him confused, and he will turn it over by trying to go too fast. Then at the end of a shot clock, you have to make him make jump shots. There is no doubt Cousins is the best post player in college basketball. He’s a load on the block, and it’s incredible he gets one of every four shots taken off the offensive glass. [Patrick] Patterson is almost an afterthought, but he hit the big three against Vanderbilt, so you know he’s going to make big plays.
Notice no mention of provoking Boogie, who has proved in recent weeks that that strategy is doomed to fail. Otherwise, not a big surprise, as most have been saying all along that inexperience and outside shooting are the achillies heels of this squad. But these Cats have proved that they can win when they don’t shoot well, have to come from behind, hang on after seeing a large lead evaporate or just generally don’t play well. They’ve won in all different fashions and that will only aid them come tournament time. They’ll be ready. Go Cats.