Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Kentucky vs Cleveland State.....A Preview - Bluegrass Showcase

Kentucky vs Cleveland State  
11/23/16 Wednesday 1PM 
(SEC NETWORK)
Cleveland State Vikings (Horizon League)

Location: Cleveland, OH
Enrollment: 17,323
Arena: 8,500

Head Coach: Gary Waters
Career Record: 356-285 (55.5%)
At Cleveland State: 185-150 (55.2%)

2015-16 Record: 9-23
2015-16 Conference Record: 4-14
2015-16 Postseason: None

2016-17 Record: 1-2
Kent State 79 Cleveland State 74
Cleveland State 67 Canisius 64
UT Martin 85 Cleveland State 74

Probable Starting Lineup: 
Rob Edwards-G 6’4” Soph……………………………………….17.0 PPG
Bobby Word-G 6’4” Jr……………………………………………..15.0 PPG
Jibri Blount=F 6’7” Soph………………….………………………8.3 PPG
Kasheem Thomas-G 6’0” Fr………………………………………7.7 PPG
Derek Sloan-F 6’6” Jr………………………………………………..7.3 PPG

Other Key Players:
Jamarcus Hairston-F 6’8” Jr………………………………………5.3 PPG
Daniel Levitt-G 6’1” Soph………………………………………….3.0 PPG
Evan Claybourne-F 6’8” Fr………………………………………..1.3 PPG

Cleveland State Stats:
PPG-72
FG%-42.2%
3 PT%-34.9%
FT%-68.0%
RPG-31
APG-13
TO’s-15
SPG-6
BPG-3

Cleveland State had their worst season last year in over 10 years as they finished with a very poor 9-23 record. The Vikings were one of the worst offensive teams in the nation last season averaging only 60.8 PPG and shot only 40.3% from the field. This season CSU returns 3 starters and adds 3 freshmen along with 3 JUCO transfers. 

Guards Rob Edwards and Bobby Word are the leading scorers averaging 17.0 and 15.0 PPG respectfully….and both are shooting over 40% from the perimeter. Forward Jibri Blount leads the team in rebounds while guard Kasheem Thomas leads the team in assists with 19. Coach Waters is going deep in his bench as he searches for a good rotation as he evaluates the new players to his team. It’s only 3 games and the Vikings are averaging 12 PPG over last season so hopefully the offense will be much improved.

Unfortunately, the Vikings simply don’t have the talent, experience or size to play with Kentucky. 

Kentucky Stats:
PPG-85.5
FG%-46.3%
3 PT%-28.4%
FT%-71.8%
RPG-39.0 (+2.0)
APG-16.8
SPG-8.8
BPG-8.3

Kentucky soundly defeated Duquesne 93-59 holding the Dukes to 30.4% shooting as UK continues to play very good defense. This is arguably Cal’s quickest teams as they fly up and down the court and are averaging nearly 9 steals PG. Fox, Monk and Briscoe give UK a terrific backcourt as the three lead the team in scoring. Bam is getting much more comfortable in the pivot and playing much better. Gabriel, who started in the Duquesne, is going to be an outstanding player for the Cats. 

It’s very early so it’s not entirely fair to express some concern on UK’s shooting from the perimeter……but I will anyway. After 4 games UK is shooting a very poor 28.4% from the perimeter.
Thus far….Fox is 1-9….Gabriel is 1-6…..Briscoe is 1-7……Willis is 2-8…..Hawkins is 0-5. Only Monk with 12-31 for 38.1% and Mulder’s 6-14 for 42.9% are having any success from long range. Hopefully, we see some significant improved perimeter shooting in the coming games.

I was exceedingly pleased to see Mulder get in the game early and get 20 minutes. There is no question that Mulder has vastly improved over last season and deserves to be in the rotation. Mulder is very active on the court, playing solid defense and is very likely UK’s very best perimeter shooter. Make no mistake, the Cats are going to need Mulder’s perimeter shooting this season.

I see UK easily defeating Cleveland State and staying undefeated as the #1 team! GO CATS!

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