Fortunately for the readers of this site, I was one of the 200 or so people who actually got to see Drexel play live this past Friday night. Honestly, it didn’t even dawn on me that this was the team Kentucky would (most likely) be playing when they went for their 2,000th victory until some innocent bystander on press row within earshot brought it up. “This team is supposed to be going against Kentucky in a few days?” the innocent bystander proclaimed to no one in particular. Fortunately for him, I rescued his aimless comment with, “Yeah, this is the team Kentucky will play and probably beat for their 2,000th victory; we’re watching a historical footnote.”
Watching a historical footnote is exactly what I did Friday night, because even though there’s no game in the world I’d bet my life on, if I had to pick one, this would be it. Drexel does not match up with Kentucky at all. They want to slow it down; Kentucky wants to speed it up. They’re small inside; Kentucky is gigantic. They’re game plan is built around two small, quick guards; Kentucky’s is built around two bigger, quicker super-guards. Drexel only scores 62/game and they give up 60. It’s going to be tough for them to limit Kentucky to 60 points, and judging by the looks of their offense Friday night, it’s going to be even tougher for them to score more than 60 points, let alone the 80+ Kentucky’s likely to put up. Things to watch for:
– As I mentioned, Drexel doesn’t have a ton of size (they have one guy listed at 6’9’’). Look for UK to try and get the ball inside early. Patterson, Cousins, and Orton should put up big numbers.
– Junior guard Jamie Harris is the Dragons only real scoring threat. He’s averaging 15/game and put up 24 Friday night. He’s small (5’10’’, 175), but he has nice outside touch and gets off shots in the lane better than you’d expect. Of course, Kentucky’s bigs may make that a little tougher for him tonight than it has been.
– DeAndre Liggins, all of the sudden, is the most popular player on the team. The fans are happy to have him back, and his playing time seems to have a chance of increasing, assuming he’s able to stay focused on the defensive end. He got in early Saturday–pay attention to when Calipari inserts him into the lineup tonight and how Liggins looks defensively. Offensively, I’m anxious to see if he has the green light (and confidence) to be aggressive.
– John Wall tweaked his knee Saturday against Austin Peay, I’m curious to see if Calipari will respond by giving him an easy night tonight. If he does, we’ll see more Bledsoe at the point and (hopefully) more Liggins at the wing.