The Kentucky Wildcats (27-0, 14-0) are four games away from completing an undefeated regular season. By the looks of recent games, these teams in the SEC have no chance at knocking of the No.1 Wildcats in the next week. Well, maybe Arkansas has a chance to defeat Kentucky on Saturday, but it should be noted that Kentucky has won their last two Saturday home games by 33 and 35 points.
Before the Wildcats even get to their showdown with the Razorbacks, they must take care of business against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are (12-15, 5-9), and the only thing they have in common with Kentucky is that they play in the SEC. Mississippi State has lost four of their last five games to fall below .500 on the season.
Everyone has been waiting for the Kentucky offense to match their defense, so they dropped 110 points on Auburn, in their last outing. For a team that only has two players averaging double figure points, that feat was highly impressive.
When their defense is locked in, it might take a miracle for a team to defeat Kentucky this season. The overall depth is making Kentucky a better team right now. As certain players across the country may be getting tired, the Kentucky platoon system has each player extremely fresh.
Willie Cauley-Stein has been a difference maker, and he’s starting to establish his offensive game. In addition to an array of dunks, Cauley-Stein is beginning to show his face up game. He doesn’t have much of a post presence offensively, but looks completely comfortable utilizing the mid-post, and facing up. That alone gives more room to Karl-Anthony Towns and Dakari Johnson to play in the paint.
How balanced has Kentucky been? Towns and Cauley-Stein both average 6.1 shots per game, while Cauley-Stein has scored three more points than Towns this season. Towns has four more rebounds than Cauley-Stein. The biggest difference comes in the blocked shots category. Kentucky opponents can avoid one, but can’t avoid both big men. Cauley-Stein has continued to show his versatility on the perimeter with 41 blocked shots, while Towns has batted away 64 shots. Still, they aren’t the only Kentucky duo to work in concert.
The backcourt uses a four guard rotation, with the Harrison twins, Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis. Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker lead the team with 11 points per game apiece. Andrew Harrison and Ulis combine for seven assists per game. As the season progresses, having three of the players on the court will become more common.
Due to Kentucky’s size, the way to beat them would be from the 3-point line. However, it’s difficult to even get adequate shots up from deep. They hold opponents to 27 percent from beyond the arc. Mississippi State only shoots 31 percent from distance. Therefore, the Bulldogs’ Gavin Ware must play his best game of the season.