Buffalo’s upset over Arizona has turned UB into a team to watch this Saturday. While most people are still favoring Kentucky in this game most people acknowledge that the Bulls, if they are on their game, have a very good chance to steal a victory.
I’ve not followed Kentucky since the Bulls went down there under Bobby Hurley and gave the Wildcats everything they could handle.
So I reached out to the SBNation home for Kentucky sports, A Sea Of Blue.
BR) I’ve not watched a lot of Kentucky basketball this season, but from what I seen you have an athletic team that can cover a lot of ground, similar to Buffalo, Against Davidson you threw a lot of that away and decided to pack the paint. How do you think you will try to match up with the Bulls, a guard oriented team that likes to push a very fast tempo.
SOB) Against Davidson, Kentucky had a height and weight advantage for nearly every matchup on the court. For this reason, the Cats wanted to bully their way to a victory and it worked. Against Buffalo, they’ll have a similar mindset since the Bulls aren’t too big either, but because of how skilled the guards are, they have to respect the perimeter. Expect Kentucky to pack the paint on offense, but protect the perimeter on defense by using their length to cover the court. If they can slow the game down and play big boy ball down low, they’ll have the advantage.
BR) Arizona seemed to overlook UB a bit, do you think Kentucky will be tempted to look ahead to Virginia?
SOB) I don’t think Kentucky will overlook Buffalo at all, in fact, I think they’ll be ready for them. When the two teams met up in 2014 (Kentucky’s 38-1 season), Buffalo came to Lexington and only trailed by 5 at halftime. Calipari has seen what this Buffalo team can do, so he’ll make sure they’re ready. Not to mention, Buffalo obliterated an Arizona team that many had making it out of the South Region. There’s no reason to overlook them now, especially after seeing how well they’re guards play.
BR) Who’s the star or stars that Buffalo fans should be watching for?
SOB) Simply put, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the best player on Kentucky’s roster. Yes Kevin Knox is amazing, and he’s definitely the best shooter. However, the team goes as Shai goes. If it’s a close game at the end, expect the ball to be in Alexander’s hands.
BR) If you’re Buffalo, how do you beat Kentucky? What have teams done to give you trouble this season?
SOB) There are two key points in beating Kentucky; hitting threes and forcing the Cats to shoot the three. Although Kentucky does have shooters, they’re currently ranked 142nd in the country in 3 point FG %. If Buffalo can hit there shots and keep Kentucky away from the basket, forcing three-point shots, this game will be very interesting.