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Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana is the home of the Bleu Devils (as in Bleu Cheese, or “Sacré bleu!”), who travel north to chilly Lexington and Rupp Arena tonight for a tilt with the Kentucky Wildcats. As you no doubt know by now, former Wildcat Dale Brown, from nearby Pascagoula Mississippi, is in his third season has head basketball coach at DU.
Game particulars as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:
This is the final game of the exhibition season for Kentucky, and should be an interesting test. The Bleu Devils play Dale Brown’s riff on the fast-paced, pressing style of the 1993 Kentucky Wildcats that he played when he was at his best. It is a style sure to test the ballhandling of these young Wildcats, and since “toughness” has been the watchword around here since the Wildcats were out-gritted by Pikeville earlier in the week, we’ll see if John Calipari’s less tolerant approach to practice will pay dividends early.
Some of the things I’ll be watching for tonight:
- Brandon Knight doing a better job of getting his teammates involved, and turn the ball over less;
- Terrance Jones getting on the boards, and being more physical and less grabby;
- Darius Miller being more assertive, more consistently;
- Doron Lamb looking to get the ball to open teammates, and attacking the rim;
- DeAndre Liggins keeping the intensity high all the time, not just after Calipari calls him out;
- Eloy Vargas just playing better, and acting like he’s 6’10″ instead of 6’5″.
- Josh Harrellson getting better position inside, and finishing plays;
- Jon Hood and Stacey Poole stepping up and acting like they want to get some minutes;
- Gang rebounding;
- The whole team shooting the basketball better.
The ‘Cats didn’t distinguish themselves in their first game. Now is the time for them to make up for it with a solid performance in their second and final exhibition outing. Next Friday, the season begins officially, and Kentucky needs to place themselves on a trajectory of improvement that can be sustained, and get them where they need to be before the really big games come along.