Sunday, November 20, 2016

Kentucky vs Duquesne....A Preview - Bluegrass Showcase

Kentucky vs Duquesne 11/20/16 Sunday 9PM (ESPNU)
Duquesne Dukes (Atlantic 10 Conference)
Location: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Enrollment: 9,506
Arena: 4,406
Head Coach: Jim Ferry
Career Record: 303-242 (55.6%) 
At Duquesne: 50-75 (40%)

2015-16 Record: 17-17
2015-16 Conference Record: 6-12
2015-16 Postseason: 1-1 (CBIT)

2016-17 Record: 2-1
Duquesne 65 Loyola Maryland 60
Penn State 82 Duquesne 74
Duquesne 89 Saint Francis75

Probable Starting Lineup”
Isiaha Mike-F 6’8” Fr………………………………..…10.3 PPG
Danius Lewis-C 6’11” Sr………………………………7.0 PPG
Mike Lewis-G 6’1” Fr……………………………….….9.0 PPG
Tarin Smith-G 6’2” Soph……………………………..14.7 PPG
Earle Blackman-G 6’3” Gran Transfer……….…5.0 PPG

Other Key Players:
Spencer Littleson-G 6’4” Fr………………………….7.3 PPG
Nakye Sanders-F 6’8” Soph……………………...….6.7 PPG

Duquesne Stats: (3 GAMES)
PPG-76.0
FG%-45.1%
3 PT%-38.3%
FT%-70.7%
RPG-39.3 (+3.3)
APG-13.3
TO’s-17.0
SPG-6.3
BPG-6.7

Duquesne lost 3 key starters from last season’s team, but they have added 3 transfers and several freshmen to their returning 2 starters. The Dukes are 2-1 losing to Penn St…..they do play Canisius before they face UK on Sunday. This season the Dukes are projected 12th out of 14 teams in the Atlantic 10 conference. The Atlantic 10 has a number of good teams such as Dayton and VCU and too often doesn’t get the respect that it often deserves.
 
It’s obviously very early in the season to evaluate teams, but thus far Duquesne has shot a solid 38.3% from the perimeter. Also, the Dukes are going deep in their bench and playing a number of players as they likely are trying to settle on a good rotation. Any team that can shoot well from the perimeter can be dangerous, but the Dukes simply don’t have the anywhere near the talent of UK or the size. 

Kentucky Stats: (3 games)
PPG—83.0
FG%-46.4%
3 PT%-29.1%
FT%-70.8%
RPG-35.7 (-3.0)
APG-16.0
TO’s-12.3
SPG-8.0
BPG-7.7

Kentucky returns to Rupp arena with a big win over Michigan State in Madison Square Garden on national TV. The 3 guards in Briscoe, Monk and Fox are carrying the offense with Briscoe averaging 19.7 PPG….Monk 16.3 PPG…..and Fox 15.0 PPG. Briscoe is playing great basketball on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court….and has greatly improved his FT shooting hitting 12-16 FT’s thus far this season. The BBN was very happy to see Monk demonstrate his perimeter shooting hitting 7 long range shots against the Spartans. Unfortunately, the other players went 0-10 from long range and UK as a team is hitting a very poor 29.1% from the perimeter after 3 games. Obviously, it’s very early in the season and hopefully some other Cats start making perimeter shots.

Fox is arguably the fastest UK player ever and he is super exciting to watch on fast breaks. While Fox is struggling in making jump shots he is doing a great job dishing out assists with 21 thus far. In addition, Fox is perfect at the foul line making 21-21. 

Bam gives us a glimpse as to how good he can be, but foul trouble continues to be an issue with him. Still, Bam is tied with Humphries for rebounds. What is happening to Derek Willis who started the season off with a great 1st half in the opening game as he was everywhere playing with tremendous energy. However, for some reason since then, Willis seems to have reverted to past performances where he struggled on defense and didn’t look for his shot very often.

Against the Spartans, Cal played Willis only 16 minutes and Derek only took one shot. Frankly, I’m puzzled as Willis is counted on to provide perimeter shooting and bring high energy to the court, but we’re not seeing that now. Whatever the problem, let’s hope we see a much improved high energy Willis ASAP.

There is no question that this UK team has great talent and great potential, but they need to improve in many areas such as rebounding where UK has been out rebounded in 2 of their 3 games. They need to reduce the turnovers and make better decisions on the court. Obviously, they must work hard on improving their defense. The win over Michigan St. was great, but coach Cal knows that there is still a lot of improvement needed overall for this team to make a run at a NCAA championship. 

I see a UK team defeating Duquesne by 20 points. GO CATS!

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