Even though the Kentucky Wildcats lost to #2 Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday night, I’m not worried in the long-term. For the most part, the problems we saw on Tuesday with defensive fouls and turnovers are easily correctable.
The one area that many fans and commentators feel that the Cats need to improve upon are the free throws. It was a weakness for basketball coach John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers team in the 2008 National Championship game against the Kansas Jayhawks. The Tigers shot 63.2% to the Jayhawks’ 93.3% on that night.
In the two games before taking on the Spartans, the Wildcats shot slightly better from free throw line. Against UNC-Ashville, the Cats were 30-48 (.625) in the season opener. The Cats won 89-57 but they left 18 points at the free throw line. Worse, they made 28 field goals in 60 attempts.
Against the Northern Kentucky Norse on Sunday, the Cats shot 26-38 (.684) at the line. It’s an improvement. They made less shots but also took ten less attempts.
With the Spartans, the Cats had their worst night of the season. However, the quality of their opponent was much different than the first two games. On Tuesday night, the Cats shot 20-36 (.556) at the line. The Cats left 16 points at the line.
What they leave at the line will have to get lower as the season continues. I have faith that the Cats will improve at the line as the season continues.