Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: What to watch for against Transylvania and other Headlines

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Nov 01, 2012; Lexington , KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel (3) warms up before the game against the Northwood Seahawks at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

The Kentucky Wildcats finish off the exhibition season tonight against nearby Transylvania University. Last season the Wildcats got a bit of a scare from Transy as they led 21-18 during a brief juncture in the game, but UK ended up winning quite handily.

What should we look for tonight?

– Jon Hood should get more minutes. John Calipari expressed at his postgame press conference after Northwood that Hood deserved to see more minutes.

– Cal will continue to tinker with the lineup. He still isn’t sure what exactly he has with this team. He did like the Twin Tower lineup, so look for that to happen more.

– Alex Poythress should be more aggressive tonight. Poythress looked a bit out of sorts and a little timid in the first exhibition game. With his size and ability, he should have dominated the smaller players from Northwood. Cal has said time and time again that Poythress needs to have a constant motor. Expect an increase tonight.

– Will Nerlens Noel continue his maturation? The #1 overall recruit looked uneven in the first half, but came out like gangbusters in the second half. Will he put together a complete game?

– Archie Goodwin was a scoring machine. Would love to see that continue.

– Ryan Harrow looked very good despite some failed moments of flash and a few turnovers. Calipari was irate with his point guard after he missed a wide open lay up and after he looked passed open men in order to score on his own. Hopefully Harrow can cut down on the mistakes and see the floor more clearly.

-Defense, defense, defense. While the effort was there and the ‘Cats held the Seahawks in the second half, there were rotation problems on defense and confusion as well.

– Kyle Wiltjer needs to man up. While nobody is questioning his scoring, everybody thinks his defense and his rebounding is suspect. Time to get tough or he may be playing himself out of the starting lineup.

Oct 24, 2012; Lexington , KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari watches during the Kentucky-Blue and White scrimmage at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

One of the reasons for the defensive confusion is that coach Calipari teaches offense first to his young players and holds off on teaching defense until the season start. His rationale?

But there is no madness in Calipari’s methods and more than a little genius. “First, I don’t want [the players] to be miserable right away playing basketball. I want them to enjoy it,” he says. “They enjoy offense.” Second, by focusing almost entirely on teaching his Dribble-Drive Motion offense, Calipari is pulling something of a Mr. Miyagi, Wax-on, Wax-off trick on his players. “Having to guard the ball is the hardest thing you have to learn,” he says. “Guarding against screens, against the picker and rolls and all that, we have schemes for that stuff, but it starts with a guy with the ball coming at you. By working on the Dribble-Drive right away, we are working on guarding the dribbler from the start.”

The entire article by George Dohrmann is a must read. It gives us an even more in depth look at Calipari’s coaching methods.

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