Monday, January 06, 2014

Kentucky vs Mississippi St.....A Preview

Kentucky vs Mississippi St. 1/8/14 Wednesday..8PM (TV-SEC Network)
UK leads the series 82-18

Mississippi St. Bulldogs

Location: Starkville, Miss.
Enrollment: 20,500
Arena: 10,575

Head Coach: Rick Ray
Career Record: 10-22 (31.3%) One season

2012-13 Record: 10-22
2012-13 SEC Record: 4-14
2012-13 Postseason: None

2013-14 Record: 10-3
2013-14 SEC Record: 0-0

Miss St. 71 Prairie View A&M 56
Miss St.78 Kennesaw St. 55
Miss St. 94 Miss Valley St. 72
Utah St. 87 Miss St. 68
Miss St. 58 Jackson St. 56
Miss St. 65 Loyola Chicago 64 (OT)
TCU 71 Miss St.61
Miss St. 68 SE Louisiana 62
Miss St. 78 Florida A&M 65
Miss St. 66 Fla Gulf Coast 53
Miss St. 71 South Florida 66
UNLV 82 Miss St. 66
Miss St. 77 MD Eastern Shore 63

Miss St. Stats:

PPG-70.8
FG%-46.1%
3 PT%-30.2% (4.5 PG)
FT%-64.0%
RPG-34.8 (+1.2)
APG-12.4
TPG-14.2
SPG-9.6
BPG-2.8

Probable Starting Lineup:

Gavin Ware-F 6’9” Soph……………….….11.2 PPG
Colin Borchert-F 6’8” Sr…………………..10.1 PPG
Fred Thomas-G 6’5” Soph…………………8.3 PPG
Craig Sword-G 6’3” Fr…………………….14.3 PPG
I.J. Ready-G 5’11” Fr………………………6.7 PPG

Other Key Players:

Roquez Johnson-F 6’7” Jr……………….…9.0 PPG
Trivante Bloodman-G 6’0” Jr……………...5.2 PPG
Tyson Cunningham-G 6’3” Sr……………..1.8 PPG

Miss St. head coach Rick Ray had a very tough 1st year at the helm of the Bulldogs last season…as attrition and injuries left the team with only 6 scholarship players through most of last season. This season the Bulldogs are in much better shape personnel wise….although freshman Andre Applegate is transferring out in mid season. Applegate was a 6’5” guard averaging 17.8 minutes PG and averaging 5.5 PPG. 

This season Miss St. is 10-3, but their schedule has been very weak and they have really not defeated any quality team….with all 3 losses coming against better competition. 

The Bulldogs are not a good shooting team….hitting only 30.2% from the perimeter and only 64.0% from the FT line. Craig Sword is the leading scorer averaging 14.3 PPG….Gavin Ware leads in rebounds with a solid 8.9 RPG. IJ Ready leads in assists.

Miss St. turn the ball over 14 times PG, but they are excellent at stealing the ball…with an eye popping 9.6 steals PG. 

Obviously, coach Ray has a lot more recruiting to do to make the Bulldogs competitive in the SEC. Miss St. will find Rupp arena and the 15th ranked Cats their toughest opponent by far this season!

UK Stats:

PPG-80.8
FG%-47.8%
3 PT%-31.0% (4.8 PG)
FT%-66.5%
RPG-12.3 (+12.4)
TPG-12.8
SPG-4.0
BPG-7.2

Kentucky has been hard at work at coach Cal’s 3 a day practices after their terrific win over rival Louisville. Defeating UL was a huge win as it not gave them a win over huge rival UL and Pitino, but it gave the Cats a much needed quality win over a highly ranked opponent. In addition, the win was a tremendous confidence builder that these young Cats needed.

There was much to like about UK’s performance over UL….such as playing with great energy and passion….and playing more like a team. A number of players had solid games for the Cats and certainly there was overall improvement, particulary on defense.

However, there were also issues that need to be improved….outside shooting remains a big problem….31.0% from the perimeter is the worst among Cal’s UK teams. For example: the 9/10 team shot 33.1%…the 10/11 team shot 39.7%…the 11/12 team shot 37.8%….the 12/13 team shot 34.6%. FT shooting also remains a huge issue….66.5% from the charity line is poor….and too many misses are coming at critical times in games. Obviously, more work is needed on both offense and defense and the practices that are occurring now will hopefully bear fruit and we see significant improvement going forward!

The talent is there….the team is playing with more sustained effort and playing as a team….they are playing with great energy….they are great kids. The Miss St. game will hopefully reveal improvements in all areas….I see UK soundly defeating the Bulldogs by 20-25 points. GO CATS!

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