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If Tar Heels play Monk tighter on Sunday, he knows teammates can have big games

Malik Monk had 21 points Friday. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Malik Monk put his name on the national scene with his 47-point performance in December during UK’s overtime win over North Carolina.

Sunday in Memphis the two teams meet again for a berth in the Final Four.

Monk knows what to expect Sunday.

“I think they’re going to play me even tighter, so that means (De’Aaron) Fox is going to have his way or anybody else is going to have his way. We’re just going to see what they’re going to do at the beginning of the game, and we’re going to go off that,” Monk said after Friday’s win over UCLA.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said there are advantages for him and North Carolina coach Roy Williams to having already played each other this season.

“It’s a quick turn, you know, so the more information I have, the better. Because we’re going to practice tomorrow at 3:00. That’ll be the practice. And then we play the next day at 4:00 (CST),” Calipari said.

“You know, it helps both teams that we play because we’ll know each other pretty well. And let me say this: North Carolina is so good, and they’ve been so good all year. Guard play, size, rebounding, fly, being able to score, Jackson will get 40. He had 40 on us last game we played.

“Roy has done a great job with his team, and I’m looking forward to the game just because I like my team, and we’ve got a good group of kids, and I’m like jacked up. I’ll sleep tonight because I’m getting old and I’m tired, but I’m excited that we’re still doing this with this group of kids.”

1 comment

    A review of the official box score for December’s UNC-UK game reveals important information about how the Cats managed to win this game, and most importantly, how UNC managed to hang with the Cats to the end, and almost winning. Of course, Malik Monk’s 47 points were critical to this win. However, please consider the following facts:

    1. The Cats had 78 total possessions to 79 total possessions for UNC (41 each in the first half, and 39/38 in the second half).
    2. The Cats had 15 offensive rebounds to only 10 offensive rebounds by UNC.
    3. The Cats had 39 total rebounds, to 35 for the Heels.
    4. The Cats only got 8 second chance points in the game, but UNC got 18 second chance points

    The Cats had an efficiency of 1.321 points per possession for the game, but when we examine that efficiency on first or second chance possessions, we see a first chance efficiency of 1.218 ppp but on second chance possessions, the efficiency drops off to only 0.533 ppp. The Tar Heels had an efficiency of 1.266 ppp, but their split is 0.911 ppp for first chance possessions and 1.800 ppp for second chance possessions.

    As you know, I believe this has been an Achilles Heel for this UK team most of the season, and the Tar Heels exploited this weakness throughout the game, allowing them to hang in to the end.

    These game characteristics were on full display in the 62nd possession of the game. With 9:13 remaining, Bradley missed a layup that would have trimmed UK’s lead to 5 points. Hawkins got the rebound and then the following events occurred over the next 1 minute and 9 seconds, during which UK controlled the offensive possession with 4 offensive rebounds culminating in a 1-2 trip to the free throw line by Edrice (BAM) Adebayo to extend the UK lead to 8 points, 82-74 with 8:02 remaining.

    I believe this 1 point, obtained as a result of very hard work on the offensive glass over a span of slightly over 1 minute, provided the ultimate victory because without this point. When UNC moved on top by 3 points, 98-95 with only 1:37 remaining, the margin would have been 4 points, and Malik Monk’s 3 pointer with 1:21 would not have tied the score. This single point would have placed both teams in a dramatically different posture for those final 81 seconds.

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