5 players Kentucky doesn’t want to see in the SEC Tournament

Kentucky is one of the most talented teams heading into March, but John Calipari's group is far from infallible. These five players in the conference can exploit the Wildcats issues in the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
Florida Gators guard Walter Clayton Jr. (1)
Florida Gators guard Walter Clayton Jr. (1) / Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
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. F. Tolu Smith. 2. Senior. Tolu Smith. Tolu Smith. . player. 530

Kentucky relies heavily on its four-out style and has three inexperienced bigs, so it might come as a surprise that Smith is the first big to appear on this list. Either because the quick pace neutralizes opposing big men or the 15 fouls between Onyenso, Bradshaw, and Ivisic do, Kentucky hasn’t been susceptible to big games from interior players. 

Smith is the most notable exception to that rule. In Mississippi State’s two games against Kentucky, Smith has scored 21 points on 9-13 shooting with 10 boards in a 91-89 Bulldog’s loss in Starkville and dropped 26 on 11-15 from the field with eight boards and three assists in a 90-77 loss at Rupp Arena. 

Kentucky can feel confident in a matchup with Tolu, having beaten his team twice, but Smith has torched the UK bigs and done it efficiently.

Mississippi State is 162nd in pace, and if the Bulldogs can find a way to limit the possessions in a third contest with Kentucky, then they’ll have the most reliable offensive option in the game. The 6-foot-11 forward is averaging 16.4 points and 8.4 boards on 58.8% shooting.