UK vs. Miami (FL): Preview
Posted by ibleedblue040 on December 6, 2008
Today Kentucky gets their first shot at a team that has, at one point in the season, been ranked. Miami (FL) is no longer ranked because a loss at Ohio State but do not let that fool you, they played the majority of the game without their best player, Jack McClinton, after McClinton felt it was necessary to punch a guy in the face and get himself ejected. Had he been in the game odds are they would have won so UK should look at Miami as a ranked opponent.
Miami is led by McClinton, who returns for the game, and Dwayne Collins, who is averaging 12.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Miami comes in pretty balanced scoring wise, having eight players averaging 6 ppg or more on the season as they are averaging 76 ppg this season as a team. Miami also has a highly recruited freshman out of New York named DeQuan Jones who, although he is averaging just 3.5 ppg, can really jump and could explode in a game.
KEYS TO THE GAME
The biggest thing Kentucky needs to do is to cut down on their turnover numbers. UK comes into this game leading the nation in turnovers per game with 22 tpg where as Miami is only averaging 13.2 tpg. With Michael Porter hurt, but still playing, look for DeAndre Liggins to start at point guard. Liggins, although turnover prone himself, does not throw the ball away as much as Porter, who commits about 3 tpg in only 18 mpg. Liggins helped lead the Cats to victories in Las Vegas over Kansas State and West Virginia with his big plays in the second half of those ball games. If UK can stay around even with Miami in terms of turnovers then we will have a good shot to win.
Another key will be to keep Patrick Patterson out of foul trouble. It seems as though in every game Patterson picks up two quick first half fouls and then has to sit for a long time and then will come in the second half and pick one up. Patterson is averaging less than 30 mpg. which is not good. With Miami having many guys that can come down low and score it is crucial that Patterson is in there to match them and to help prevent them from scoring. Patterson is the best player in the SEC and he will need to have an All-SEC performance today to help propel the Cats.
I think that Gillispie is a very good coach, especially at putting the right lineups on the court at the perfect time and I think he does it again for the Cats. I think Patterson has a monster game and Meeks has another 18-22 point performance in helping the Cats to a 72-65 win over the Hurricanes. One very important factor will be the point guard play. I assume Liggins and Galloway will again get major minutes and with them both being new players to the program it is crucial that they play smart.