The Kentucky Wildcats will face the toughest test of this extremely young season tomorrow night in Atlanta when they take on the #9 ranked Duke Blue Devils. Both teams are 1-0 but their opponents were vastly different. It took Kentucky all forty minutes to defeat Maryland while Duke rolled over Georgia State.
The Wildcats have already been tested while Duke feasted on a cupcake, but they are a team with veterans while the Wildcats are still young. Here are five things that Kentucky has to improve on to defeat Duke.
As of now Kentucky is the two point underdog.
1. Rebounding- This is a must as they were destroyed on the boards by the Terrapins. Willie Cauley-Stein, Nerlens Noel, Kyle Wiltjer and Alex Poythress were out hustled on the boards. Duke has Ryan Kelly, Mason Plumlee and Marshall Plumlee, all 6’10 or more.
2. Touhgness- This goes with the rebounding. Kentucky was pushed around under the basket by Maryland. Our bigs need to be tougher, more physical and more confident in their abilities.
3. Body Language- Many may think that this is silly, but body language does effect the game. When the Wildcats became frustrated or things started going the way of the Turtle, there was visible frustration. They need to shake off the mistakes and move on to the next play instead of hanging their heads.
4. Turnovers- The turnovers weren’t awful, but they aided in bringing Maryland back into the game from down 15. Kentucky had only 12, But most of them game within the first few moments of the second half.
5. Learn to Play with the Lead- The young ‘Cats had a 15 point lead and their talent superiority was apparent but they rested on their laurels and were almost upset. Julius Mays, Kyle Wiltjer and Jarrod Polson did a fine job of hitting some big shots late in order to right the ship, but the young kids need to learn how to play when they are winning by double digits.