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Is Kentucky Set Up for Best Early Season Success Out of Top Teams?

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

It’s something I’ve been thinking about without trying to have any bias. Out of the preseason top 5-10 teams is Kentucky set up the best for early season success this season? The answer is yes and the reason is the diminutive guy holding the ball in the picture above (sidenote: I’ll use this picture any chance I can. It’s fantastic).

This past week, we’re starting to see the AP Poll get released, rankings from various sites and Kentucky is continually falling at either No. 2 or No. 3 in the country. Looking at it in more, the more it shows how important Ulis is to this team and how important a steady point guard is in college basketball. North Carolina’s star Marcus Paige is sidelined 3-4 weeks with a broken finger, the reality is now they have to play an okay backcourt. Maryland, another team that’s receiving first place votes over the Cats have to figure out their team and Melo Trimble isn’t exactly the most careful when it comes to not turning the ball over.

Despite a tough schedule, Kentucky has the best point guard out of that group of five. That will go a long way while teams use the first month trying to figure out who they are or what type of team they want to be.

Article written by Bobby Reagan

One time representative of UK at SEC 3v3 basketball championships. Northern Yankee living the Kentucky dream. Follow me @uklefty22

7 Comments for Is Kentucky Set Up for Best Early Season Success Out of Top Teams?

  1. chadtrill
    6:13 pm November 5, 2015 Permalink

    Of course the answer is yes, but it’s not all about point guards man. Every single year I try to look at it without bias and I come up with nearly the same answer. It really zaps my brain how an educated man such as myself can really come to the same conclusion so often and still be able to feel like he is looking at the situation without bias.

    Thus, another year of trying to add up the cons of our situation yields the same answers to the same questions. There are very few ways that any team has a chance to outplay us if we play hard. The rule changes benefit us in every way. Our young guys are wise beyond their years.

    This “trying to get talent to play together” thing is new for LSU and the other folks but is old hat for our coaching staff. You can tell that they just fall into the regular routine that is going to produce results time and time again. And the recruiting is so sharply pointed at getting good guys to fill the x, y, z roles in the equation that = a team that has a chance to beat anyone and everyone.

    We know that Tyler, Skal, and Jamal are going to get theirs consistently with the possibility of pulling a record breaking performance at any time (and with yearly averages). We are certain that Alex and Isiah are going to shine regularly. Then we have Marcus, Isaac, and Charles who would start anywhere else in the conference coming off our bench. Finally, God forbid, if anyone is injured we have Mychal, Derek, and Dom ready to grab minutes. That’s a plan B, C, and D that I would bet hard earned money on.

    Devil’s Advocate/Worst case scenerio: Alex never quite rehabs and struggles with his mental game. Marcus shows no improvement in his offensive/defensive awareness. Skal can’t get all the rebounds by himself.

    Best case scenerio: Same as every year if everything clicks man. 41-7 v/s UCLA. Kansas fans crying at Allen Fieldhouse, Beating Duke so bad that fans wonder if coach K’s future is in jeopardy. Redefining the game of basketball like we do every year.


  2. chadtrill
    6:16 pm November 5, 2015 Permalink


    • Megan
      8:46 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

      You racist bastard, how dare you use the . . . oh, I see.

      Never mind.

  3. 54Meeks
    6:19 pm November 5, 2015 Permalink

    I believe UVA and Mich St. are underrated in the polls right now. Both have solid returning players from last year. I think Mich St. is better than Maryland and should win the BIG 10 and UVA has a pretty good shot to win the ACC as well. Both are top 5 teams IMO.
    My preseason top: 1. UNC 2. UK 3. Mich St. 4. UVA 5. Duke

  4. deltasig41
    7:01 pm November 5, 2015 Permalink

    It will be interesting to see how things go, but I wouldn’t necessarily say we are more or less prepared to succeed early in the season than any of those other top teams. UNC losing Paige to start the year may hurt them in some ways, but I don’t think it’ll be a major obstacle going forward. We still have a young team, even with the guys we have coming back. And while I think a lot of what Cal says is coach-speak to motivate his guys, I also believe him when he says he isn’t sure about his rotation. Now, when he says he isn’t sure HOW we’re going to play…I don’t buy that for a second. You load up with the quality guards we have, press the heck out of teams, and run up and down the court. While we have size, we don’t have that banging post presence we had last year. Skal will ultimately be our “post” guy, but he has already shown he is more comfortable facing up. We will be able to run and spread the floor at all five positions, and there aren’t too many other teams that can say that.

    If the first exhibition was any indication, we’ll be able to score with anyone. I love the way this team shares the basketball, and that all starts with Ulis. Offensively, we will look a lot different than we did the last couple of seasons…i.e. we don’t have any “blackholes” on this squad, or at least it doesn’t look like it. We have all the tools you really need to be a great offensive team:

    1. A go-to scorer that can create his own shot (Murray)
    2. A distributing point guard that takes care of the ball, but can score if he needs to (Ulis)
    3. Versatile interior size with scoring ability on out to 20 feet (Skal)
    4. Interior and perimeter strength (Poythress and Briscoe)
    5. Athleticism all the way around (All of the above, plus Matthews and Lee).

    I’ll be most interested to see how we develop defensively. I think we’ll be just fine on the offensive side of the ball.

    • Megan
      8:56 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

      Good point about the defensive end. Looks like our guards can guard. It’s whether our big men can move their feet that might be a concern. Based on what I saw against Ottawa, I’d go after our bigs with smaller, quicker players to force foul trouble. Indeed, I think this year is going to be about how well our bigs can play on both ends of the court. The guards are gold, Jerry. Gold!

  5. jonthes
    9:38 pm November 5, 2015 Permalink

    So far they look better than last year – not quite as deep. Hawkins will add experience – people forget how crucial he was in the Michigan win. Winning at Kansas very tough but…

    As for Matt running – in Lexington hate won’t swamp sanity if that’s a concern. I’ve never seen people so intent on expressing hatred that they’d damage their own lives as the election of Bevin.