By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky (8-0) is off to its best start since the 2015-16 season when the Wildcats began 10-0 going into tonight’s home game against Rhode Island, which has won three straight games.
The Wildcats have moved them up to No. 19 in The Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today/Coaches Top 25.
Howdoes coach Matthew Mitchell hope to see his team grow the most before Southeastern Conference play starts?
“I think some places where we’d really like to take a step forward… you know, we’ve done a good job of creating turnovers and we’ve done a very good job with our turnover margin. I still think that we could take better care of the ball,” Mitchell said Wednesday.
“So, offensively we’ve got a little too much standing after a play, we’re only kind of playing when the ball is in our hand. So, I’d like to see us play a little bit better without the ball, set some better screens, make some better decisions. When a team takes away a passing lane, we tend to drift out, which is what the defense wants you to do instead of hard back-door cuts and keeping the offense moving. So, playing without the ball would help us tremendously and sharpen us up.
“And, the defensive glass, we’ve got to start slowing some people down. We were really fortunate to get out of the UCLA game, they just killed us on the boards. North Carolina got a bunch of offensive boards. I didn’t think we rebounded to the level we were capable of against Morehead State.
“We’ve got hard-working players, high-character people. We’ve done a lot of things well. But, I would say that defensive rebounding. .. if you’re turning people over a bunch, I’m not so much concerned about the overall rebounding total, you know, if you have a really high turnover margin, I don’t know that you’re going to have 10+ turnovers, or a 10+ rebounds, I mean you’re killing somebody if you do that.
“We’ve got to get that number … we can’t give up 15 and 16 offensive boards against really good teams and think that we’re going to be the team that we want to be.”