Fresh off their first exhibition win of the season over Northwood University, the University of Kentucky Men’s basketball team will play again tonight as they host the Transylvania Pioneers. The Cats will hit the court tonight for the final time before they had to Brooklyn for Friday’s regular season opener vs. the Maryland Terrapins. The Pioneers, who were 23-5 a year ago, won the Heartland Conference by four games with a 16-2 league mark, and later received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. This season, they’re ranked 16th in the D3hoops.com preseason poll.
Transy, led by Head Coach Brian Lane, have has played in the NCAA Division III Championship tournament four times in the past six seasons, and return three All-HCAC selections and eight seniors from last year’s team, so this will be a veteran squad who will look to teach this young Kentucky squad a thing or two about life in college basketball.
Who to Watch for
Senior forward Ethan Spurlin
Spurlin will be the Pioneers go-to guy when they hit the court tonight. He’s the reigning 2012 Heartland Conference Player of the Year and was named a preseason NCAA D-III All-American pick this season. The former Lincoln County product averaged 17 point per game, as well as six rebounds per game. He also led the team in steals with 80 thefts last year, and the 6’4″, 215 lb forward will look to do most of his scoring in the paint, as he only attempted nine three-pointers all of last season, connecting on five of them.
Senior guard/forward Brandon Rash
The 6’3″, 220 lb guard out of Montgomery county was a first-team All-HCAC pick last year, as he averaged 16 ppg to go along with a team-high 4.7 assists per game. He can spread the floor out, as he connected on 24/58 three-pointers while also grabbing four rebounds per game.