Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kentucky vs. Arkansas Pre-View

Tomorrow night, Kentucky has another chance at payback when Arkansas comes to Rupp Arena. In the first meeting, the Cats looked as bad as they have all season long, losing 87-85 in overtime when the Hogs scored on a put-back dunk to end the game in Bud Walton Arena.

Just to give you an example of how bad the Cats played that night, here's their box score...

(Click To Enlarge)

Upon first glance, you'll say "We had four guys in double figures; they didn't play that bad", but if you look past the scoring column and dig a little deeper into the stats of the game, you begin to see why I say they played horrible..

The Cats had 17 turnovers in that game, most of which were completely unforced and came towards the end of the game. Then you look at the 26-40 from the free-throw line and then you can see why they lost. The stat at the free-through line alone was enough for them to lose the game even without the turnovers. The whole night was a game Kentucky fans and the team would rather just act like never took place. So, let's move along and talk about the game tomorrow night...

This past Saturday, Kentucky finally fought, clawed  and out hustled LSU to get a 77-76 win in overtime on a put-back basket by Julius Randle. The whole game, the Cats seemed to have a different attitude, an attitude that they hadn't shown a whole lot of this season. It looked as if they actually had the "will and the want" to win instead of hanging their heads when things got tough. Instead, they came together as a team, made plays down the stretch and came away with a W.  Was the win over LSU the turning point for this team like some have said it could be? We'll find out tomorrow night.

Until then, here's some info on how Arkansas has been doing since beating the Cats back in January.  The Hogs are 6-5 since the last meeting with wins over Auburn, Alabama, Vandy, LSU, South Carolina and Mississippi State. Their losses have come at the hands of Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri (TWICE) and LSU. Despite the record of 6-5 the Hogs are currently riding a three game winning streak (South Carolina, LSU and Miss St.) coming into Thursday night and carrying the confidence that comes with it. This will be another tough outing for the Cats and one they absolutely CANNOT drop at home.

Here's some Hog stats for ya...

Now you know what the Cats will be facing tomorrow night.  They will have to get out on the shooters as there are several that can flat-out shoot the ball. Turnovers, they will have to value the ball and not have so many unforced errors. With Arkansas averaging 9 steals per game, they don't need Kentucky's help when it comes to forcing turnovers. And lastly, REBOUND. Kentucky has done a great job of rebounding the ball and limiting second chance point opportunities and they will have to continue that tomorrow night. If they can manage all of these things, the Cats should be able to get a good win and continue building their post season resume.

We'll see ya after the game with all of the post game stuff you like to read...

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