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Let’s meet your starting lineups: Kentucky vs. Samford

Tonight fans of the Big Blue Nation will truly find out whether it is panic time or not. The Samford Bulldogs will enter Rupp Arena, having only two wins on the season, the latest coming last week against Georgia Southern which snapped a six-game losing skid. Among the weaker opponents they have faced, Samford has played — and lost — to Louisville and Memphis, scoring 54 points in each contest. Tonight’s game will be a good judgment to see just where the Cats are at, and how they respond to back-to-back losses and having to deal with being the first Calipari-led Kentucky team to lose at home.

Samford is a small team that is dominated by young players. The starting lines up consists of three freshmen and two sophomores. The tallest player that is projected in the starting lineup is 6-foot-8 forward Tim Williams. The tallest player on the roster is a 6-foot-10 junior who is averaging just 1.7 points per game.

PG: Archie Goodwin vs. Jaylen Beckham

Archie Goodwin may see decreased minutes running this point this game, as an emergent Ryan Harrow is worked into the fold. Harrow came out at the tail end of the Baylor game, and had the Cats mounted the comeback, it is likely all the talk would be about him. Regardless, Goodwin will get his minutes and hopefully find more of a groove as a scorer.

If the name “Jaylen Beckham” sounds familiar, you aren’t crazy. Beckham is a Lexington native who played his high school ball at Bryan Station. He was a three-star prospect in the 2012 class and chose Samford over offers from Alabama, DePaul and Seton Hall. Beckham made his first start of the year for the Bulldogs last week against Georgia Southern. He is averaging 2.8 points and 1.4 assists on the season.

SG: Julius Mays vs. Raijon Kelly

If Ryan Harrow is injected into the lineup for more minutes, we might expect to see less Julius Mays. But don’t be shocked if it’s actually Goodwin who sees decreased minutes. Mays is on a tear as of late, knocking down nine three-points in his last three games.

For Samford, Raijon Kelly is the team leader in points, averaging 13.4 per game, to go along with 3.6 assists. He is known as a ball-handler and skilled shooter who can log minutes as both a point guard and shooting guard. He is the most valuable player the Bulldogs will put on the floor tonight.

W: Alex Poythress vs. Connor Miller

Alex Poythress is averaging 17.4 points per game over the last five outings, so he just needs to keep doing what he is doing to keep progressing. The dynamic playmaking ability is always there, and is offensive game is electric. The one complaint you’ll hear fans voice, namely on Twitter, is his defensive lapses if only sporadically. Many want to compare Poythress to a Kentucky legend, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and while they share a lot of similarities in their game, Kidd-Gilchrist was a tenacious defender 100 percent of the time. Poythress isn’t anywhere near that. At least not yet.

His counterpart, Connor Miller is said to be a “deadly long range shooter,” according to his bio on Samford athletics page. His statistics say otherwise. On the season, Miller is just 19-for-65 from the floor. That is 29 percent. From behind the arc, he is 13-for-48. Which is 27 percent. Unless something drastic changes between now and tipoff, it seems Mr. Miller is very little threat to light up the scoreboard.

F: Kyle Wiltjer vs. Clide Geffrard Jr.

Fans will no doubt wearily watch Wiltjer to see if he earns his stripes. It is no secret: if he isn’t hitting shots there is no reason for him to be on the floor. His defense boarders on a liability, and the sole purpose of his existence on the court is to knock down shots. If he can’t find a groove and forget about “guiding” his shot, expect to see a lot of Willie Cauley-Stein.

The freshman Clide Geffrard Jr. is a much better scorer than fellow shooter Connor Miller. Averaging just 20 minutes per game, Geffrard is scoring 8.2 points and collecting 3.7 rebounds, while shooting 46 percent from the perimeter.  But at just 6-foot-5, he will be vastly undersized to 6-foot-10 Wiltjer.

C: Nerlens Noel vs. Tim Williams

Nerlens Noel struggled mightily against the Baylor Bears. But to be fair, so did the entire team. Noel shot a pitiful 3-for-14 from the floor, missing point-blank shots time and time again. He did manage to reel in 16 rebounds, seven of which were offensive. Had just a few of those offensive put-backs gone down, the outcome of last week’s game would have been much different. Fortunately for the Cats, they will have to try really hard to ever shoot that poorly again. It seemed like bad luck more than anything.

Tim Williams will line up at center, by virtue of him being the tallest player on the court for the Bulldogs, at a relatively puny 6-foot-8. His guards feed him the ball in the low block, as you would expect of most big men. And he scores with good efficiency, knocking down 56 percent of his shots. As the team leader in minutes played, the Bulldogs will continue to look for him to lead the charge in the paint, and be the big body on the boards, where he is collecting over eight rebounds per game.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

16 Comments for Let’s meet your starting lineups: Kentucky vs. Samford

  1. stan
    5:10 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    I love kyle Wiltjer,but he can’t guard anyone or rebound.

  2. hersheyisabear
    5:10 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    WHy on Earth is Goodwin starting at the point! Start Harrow. This would be a great game to do so!!

  3. Help
    5:15 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    Can someone tell me how I can watch this game in Texas? ESPN3 has it blacked out and we only get Fox Sports SouthWest here. Gotta be a way to rip this off the world wide web?

  4. Big Blue 66
    5:16 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    3 guard front, start harrow archie, mays noel and poythress…let wiltjer and WCS rotate in from the bench

  5. Mack
    5:30 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    3) I guess since A&M is now in the SEC we are blacked out from ESPN3; the last several non national games I have watched on a FOX sports channel (122 on comcast in Houston) but UK isn’t listed for tonight. I guess I will watch Jones dunk over Meeks again and PPat score another 20+ unless I can find an internet link.

  6. help
    5:34 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks Mack. Yea I figured that as well. I’m sure the point of a black out is to force people to watch it on Fox. But in Austin the only Fox is Southwest. By the way that channel is showing Lamar and Northern Kentucky, yippie

  7. Mack, what does A&M being in the league have to do with that? Just curious.

  8. joe
    5:43 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    I am out of town. Bought the fox sports south channel last month but in north carolina tonight. Please, if anyone has a link… please post. Would be very grateful. Watched funchester in the past but it’s gone now. Please help! Really want to see how Harrow is used and how he plays. Hope he starts at PG. Think that’s what we need to be good.

  9. Help
    5:45 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    Chris, if you look at a map of the ESPN blackout, it only shows states that are in the SEC, including Mizzou

  10. Help
    5:47 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    With that being said, it’s still BS. There has to be a better way to get games to people who dont have access to the channel. And really, they’re losing out on sponser revenue but keeping us in the dark.

  11. what?
    5:52 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    Yea, i hope poythress keeps doing what he’s doing. 1-1 last game, keep it up

  12. Mack
    5:58 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    Chris) the blackout seems to be in the states that host SEC teams, just a guess on my part.

  13. Deepblue
    6:19 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    “Tonight’s game will be a good judgment to see just where the Cats are at.” – Really? Did you seriously just type that out on a keyboard?

  14. Cat89
    6:22 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    Dish has this blacked out in Owensboro as they do every time the game is on Fox Sports South. FSS apparently doesn’t have a very good relationship with the folks at Dish. Anyway, Go Big Blue.

  15. Mark
    6:35 pm December 4, 2012 Permalink

    Anybody got a link?