A starting lineup shakeup for the Wildcats. Perry Stevenson will get the nod, in favor of Mark Coury who has been starting and playing the first 4-5 minutes of most games this season. It’s a good move. UK can’t afford a slow start today. But look for Marquette to go straight after Stevenson, or whoever is defending inside for UK.
Two big factors I think might be getting overlooked in today’s game:
1). Marquette’s size. The Golden Eagles don’t have a dominant inside player, but they’re not without size and the ability to get things done inside. Ousmane Barro isn’t an offensive force but he’s big enough at 6-10 to cause a few problems and should be able to step out on Stevenson if he needs to.
2). Turnovers. Marquette is fantastic at getting into passing lanes and creating turnovers. UK, which has been prone to turnovers, can’t cough it up a bunch today because Marquette will make you pay.
Otherwise, this should be a close one.
Both teams play an in-your-face, physical defense. Both teams have guards capable of big scoring nights. Both can hurt you pretty badly off the dribble.
A sparse crowd, maybe one of the smaller UK will have played in front of all season. But that’s what you get when you’re 2,000 miles from home and playing before lunchtime, local time.
Players are on the court for final warmups. UK has won 16 straight first-round games, it’s going to be a battle for No. 17.
Best stat I found yesterday: Jodie Meeks is averaging 11 points a game in NCAA play. The rest of the players on UK’s roster average a combined 10.9.
Cats just came onto the floor and, no surprise, of the crowd that’s here, the Wildcats will have a majority.
Everything is set, check back periodically for updates and thoughts.
And here’s a site you might want to be aware of. The NCAA is putting all of the blogs from its sites together at one web site. You can visit it at NCAA Blog Central.