Friday, December 21, 2012

Kentucky vs Marshall....A Preview

Kentucky vs Marshall….12/22/12 (Saturday 4PM) TV-ESPN 2
UK leads series 11-0

Marshall Thundering Herd

Location: Huntington, WV
Enrollment: 14,000
Arena: 9,043

Head Coach: Tom Herrion
Career Record: 123-62 (65.1%) 6 seasons
At Marshall: 43-24 (64.2%) 2 seasons

2011-12 Record: 21-14
2011-12 C-USA Record: 9-7
2011-12 Postseason: Lost in NIT

2012-13 Record: 7-5

Marshall 81 Longwood 47
Villanova 80 Marshall 68
Marshall 80 District of Columbia 58
S. Dakota St. 78 Marshall 77
Hofstra 103 Marshall 100 (2 OT)
Marshall 89 Nevada 82
Marshall 70 Morehead St. 67
Marshall 61 UNC Wilmington 58
West Virgina 69 Marshall 59
Marshall 69 Coppin St. 63
Cincinnati 72 Marshall 56
Marshall 64 Savannah St. 48

3 PT%-34.2%
RPG-41.3 (+4.9)

Probable Starting Lineup

D.D. Scarver-G/F 6’4” Soph…………………..15.5 PPG
DeAndre Kane-G 6’4” Jr………………………15.0 PPG
Elijah Pittman-F-6’9” Fr……………………… 14.3 PPG
Dennis Tinnon-F 6’8” Sr……………………….10.8 PPG
Nigel Spikes-C 6’10” Soph……………………..7.0 PPG

Marshall comes into Rupp Arena with a 7-5 record….including two very tough losses….one by 1 point and another in 2 OT’s. Still, the Thundering Herd will offer more competition than UK’s last 3 games. Marshall has 4 players in double figures with DD Scarver leading in scoring….in addition, Scarver has hit 34-79 perimeter shots for an excellent 43%. Freshman Elijah Pittman, from Covington, Ky, is also a solid 3 point shooter hitting 20-50 for 40%. Dennis Tinnon and Nigel Spikes are tough in the paint and lead the team in rebounds.

DeAndre Kane who led the team in scoring last season has had a terrible year thus far. Kane is shooting overall at 35.7% with only 55-154..….hitting only 7-43 for 16.3% from long range and has hit only 47.1% from the FT line. It appears that Kane has been benched the last 2 games as he hasn’t played in either game. Otherwise, I have not seen any news regarding an injury to Kane. The problem for Marshall has been despite his awful shooting….Kane continues to take more shots than any other player. Kane also leads the team in assists and TO’s. Whether Kane will play against UK is unknown at this time. If Kane doesn’t play…..look for possibly freshman Tamron Manning from Georgetown, Ky. to play…..and also sophomore Chris Martin along with others.

Marshall has not shot well this season and also had difficulty at the FT line hitting only 59.2%. In addition, TO’s have also been a problem. Despite all this, you can bet that Marshall will be pumped to play UK in Rupp Arena.

UK has added 3 victories over inferior competition after the disappointing Baylor loss.
Coach Cal has been working these young Cats very hard in practices to improve their overall game energy and effort along with their execution of Cal’s offense and defense.
It has become very apparent that this has been an extremely young team lacking in experience and leadership. There is individual talent, but, as of yet, these young kids have had difficulty adjusting to the type of effort required to compete at the college level.

These practices leading up to the UL game will go a long way in defining what kind of team Cal has as UK enters SEC competition. If there is the overall improvement that Cal expects and hopes for….then there is a lot to be optimistic about for the season….however, if there is little improvement….then coach Cal warns that this team could have a lot of losses.

Certainly, the return of Ryan Harrow to the team and recently to the starting lineup at PG…..his natural position….has been a definite plus in the past few games. Importantly, Kyle Wiltjer got his long range mojo back and showed solid improvement in the paint grabbing 12 rebounds. The Cats need Goodwin and Polythess to embrace the consistent great effort needed on defense throughout the game…..both are incredibly talented, but have struggled at times on both offense and defense during most of the games. It’s definitely a work in progress, but if all the players totally buy in to the effort needed and master the offense and defense…..another exciting year could happen for UK in the NCAA.

It would be great to see some solid progress against Marshall this Saturday. I remain optimistic….UK wins 83-65! GO CATS!

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