John Calipari’s Kentucky basketball team is preparing to run up and down the court with Alabama Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena. In their first year under Nate Oats, the Crimson Tide are ranked second in scoring and three-point field goals made per game.
“They run to shoot threes,” Calipari said Friday afternoon. “They’re not running for layups, they’re not running for post-ups. Even if they throw ahead and drive, they’re driving to find someone open for a three. So it’s a little different in how the game goes. They’ve done a great job.”
Calipari previously went head-to-head with Oats in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Hamidou Diallo scored 22 points in the 95-75 victory over Buffalo in Boise.
“They’re different. I’m telling you what they’re doing, they’re running a lot of dribble-drive stuff. But he’s doing some of it from five out,” said Calipari.
“The Buffalo team did some post-up stuff, and this team will too, but they’re game is that they’re going to shoot 35 threes. If they make 16, 15, 18, we’ll move on to the next game. It’s hard, that’d be a lot for us to stop.”
One player Kentucky must contain is Kira Lewis. The one-time UK recruit is a long-time foe of Ashton Hagans. The two point guards have been dueling against one another since eighth grade.
“I’ve always been playing Kira,” Hagans said. “He’s going to go out there and fight and compete. He’s a real fast guard, real smart guard, can shoot the ball very well and can finish in the lane very well.”
Lewis averages 16.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
“Kira is playing well. Playing fast, shooting balls, playing 38 minutes a game. He’s good.” said Calipari. “They’re good, I mean, they’re good. They’ve got players that were 2s and 3s, and now they’re 4s and 5s. Which means your 4s and 5s, if you have their hands down, they’re shooting. They’re taking threes. When you watch their team, and I’m not watching a lot of college basketball, I have all those Alaska shows to watch. but when I watched this tape, I was really stunned at how they’re really spacing this court and what they’re doing.”