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Cats Take On IUP In Final Tune-up For Duke

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

We have seen the 2018-19 Cats play four times in the Bahamas in August against an array of strong opponents, at the Big Blue Madness and Blue-White game against each other, and last Friday against Transy in the first of two exhibition games. In my mind, the team’s performance against Transy was the weakest of these seven public displays. However, I also believe this was an aberration for this group rather than a trend or the sounding of an alarm bell for the Big Blue Nation.

The 94-66 win is quite weak considering the Calipari Cats have defeated their first exhibition opponents by an average of 42 points. However, this is NOT the weakest exhibition performance by a Calipari team. That distinction belongs to the 2013-14 group that only defeated Montevallo by 23 points, 95-72 in their second exhibition game.

Seven of Calipari’s previous nine teams improved between Exhibitions 1 and 2. In addition to the 2013-14 group that declined by 11 point on the margin, the 2015-16 group declined by 6 points. The seven that improved between #1 and #2, the margin gains were 29 points (2010), 37 points (2011), 41 points (2012), 14 points (2013), 21 points (2015), 36 points (2017), and 1 point (2018). Calipari’s teams have generally shown great improvement between their first and last exhibition games. I expect this team will improve from their 28 point win over Transy when they take the floor against IUP this Friday.

This will be IUP’s first ever appearance in Rupp against a Kentucky team. This game shapes up to be a 47 point game, 97-50. However, if the Cats are angry about their game, I will not be surprised by a margin at some point during the game in excess of 60 points.

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  1. It’s way too early to speculate what this team should be doing and it’s not fair of trying to compare to other teams. Yes on paper we are loaded and back loaded let the season start and then when Cal starts to figure out who’s starting and see what the bench can do then we can start finger pointing what this team is capable of doing.

  2. I really have trouble understanding how they could blow out strong teams in the Bahamas then struggle in ways against Transy. Their shooting was off which can happen but it was keyed by good defense IMO. And they failed to play solid defense. That can’t happen against most college teams. Even the second rate teams will beat you if you don’t cut off drivers and give up the baseline too often.

    1. I don’t believe the teams UK faced in the Bahamas were as strong as was thought. I didn’t see a lot of competition there to be honest when I watched those games back in the summer. UK was not as focused, maybe, as they could have been, against Transy. UK shooting against Transy was a concern, especially from 3 point range. The UK defense was not real solid either. That said, Calipari has a ton of talent on this team. It will take him time to figure out the best starters, and the rotation, to bring the best results. I look for a more focused team tonight. The game against Duke is a concern, as it always is. Playing them this early could be tricky.

  3. We have got to get this win against Duke. If not, it will be too easy for many of us to say ” coach K still owns coach Cal”

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