Kentucky could have easily lost to Georgia twice in the regular season. Thanks to a contested three-pointer from Malik Monk and a timely ball screen trap, the Cats escaped with two wins. John Calipari expects tomorrow to be another dogfight (no pun intended).
“We’re just worried about one game, this first one. It’s going to be a very hard game for us. We know that,” Calipari said earlier today. “It will be a war, they all are at this time.”
The last time the two met, All-SEC forward Yante Maten played only two minutes. Today he returned to the court and finished with 12 points and 5 rebounds. After the game Maten said, “It’s pretty good right now. No pain right now.”
Even with Maten back, Kentucky’s biggest problem is J.J. Frazier. The elusive guard scored 59 points in the two games against Kentucky, with most of them coming off a high ball screen.
“He gets to his left hand and because of his size, he really accelerates on layups,” Calipari said. “It’s a hard thing for a big guy to guard when you’re trying to move your feet to stay in front. The other thing is he can shoot that three behind it (the screen).”
The Cats have two options to defend it — go under the screen or fight over the top — and neither of them are the correct answer. “It’s a hard thing. He’s a good player. You look at our league and he’s one of the best in the league.”
On the other end of the floor, Mark Fox is keeping Calipari guessing.
“Today Georgia played every possession zone. Against us they played two possessions zone,” Cal said. “So now do they come out and play zone? I don’t know. I don’t know. And that’s when you walk in here you don’t know what a coach is trying to do. ”
Regardless of the outcome, Calipari believes he is playing an NCAA tournament team tomorrow.
“I think Georgia’s in. I can’t imagine when they’re talking about some of these other teams being in, and Georgia’s in. They’ve done it with Maten out. They’ve done some good stuff.”