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Friends, It's Duke Week

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  • Friends, It's Duke Week

    So here comes Duke.

    Duke brings a very weird team into this game, given that they don't look like a traditional Duke team at all. In fact they look like Kentucky's teams usually look, with a lot of length and athleticism and speed. They are also young, and the ironic thing is that Kentucky is going to bring in more experience to this game. How rattled these guys are in this environment will likely be a major factor as to who wins the game.

    Duke isn't going to light you up from the perimeter like K's teams usually do, but what they will do is sprint the floor on you and jump over you if you aren't set. Freshman R.J. Barrett is a slithery, left-handed assassin who will be one of the best traffic scorers you'll see in the college game. We all know about Zion Williamson (also a lefty; two lefties on the court is unusual and hard to guard), but the real thing to watch is how Duke's big men play. They're going to play three of them: Javin DeLaurier will likely start, Marques Bolden will back up, and Jack White will play a little. Duke is going with this unusual five-out look a lot this year, and when DeLaurier is in he'll basically play like a guard. As we all know Kentucky has had trouble in the exhibitions guarding these teams when they're five-out, and that has to be cleaned up.

    Duke interestingly played only one exhibition game instead of the two the NCAA allots. They beat Virginia Union 106-64. There's very little tape of this game out there, and I suspect this was intentional: Duke's staff didn't want to give Kentucky much to look at. I think Kentucky has the advantage in every position-by-position breakdown you can draw up with the exception of Barrett, but having the best player on the court a lot of times ends up mattering. A ton of eyes are going to be on the Williamson/PJ Washington battle, but I think the most interesting individual match-up is Duke's Tre Jones against our two freshmen point guards. Hagans in particular is a guy who can get after Jones, but how tightly the officials are calling it is going to be huge. I also think Kentucky's depth is going to be a problem in the last 10 minutes. Duke is probably going to play 7 players for most of the game, and I think there's a good chance they keep the same five out there for a long stretch in this one.

    After the Bahamas I was pretty sure Kentucky was a notch better. After the exhibition games and watching how our defense has played I'm not so sure. Still, I'm taking the Cats.

    Duke 70
    Kentucky 74
    Last edited by Will Lavender; 11-04-2018, 08:22 AM.

  • #2
    A reminder also that the last time John Calipari and R.J. Barrett lined up against each other, this happened.

    I would say that game is on both their minds Tuesday night.


    • #3
      Going on:

      How Duke guards will be a major question.

      They used the zone very effectively last year, but last year they had great versatility inside and one of the springier second jumpers I've ever seen in college in Marvin Bagley. This is a much different team, with untested centers and an undersized (though super athletic) power forward in Zion Williamson. Barrett and Reddish give them good length on the edges, but I'm not sure Duke will be able to zone like last year's Duke team did.

      This Kentucky team SHOULD be unzoneable if your plan is to do it for most of the game. I just don't see Tyler Herro and Quade and some of these others throwing up bricks if Duke's plan is to go 35-40 minutes of zone. But we all know Coach K's teams are generally not the greatest defenders, so our ability to drive the ball with players like Johnson and Washington might be critical if they do have to go man.

      Something to watch.


      • #4
        It's an interesting match-up but at this point I believe UK has the advantage because our Bigs won't back off.
        John 3:3


        • #5
          Let's Goooooooooooo!!

          Nothing that has happened in the exhibition games has deterred me from thinking the Cats win by double digits. And I'll be there in Bankers Life to see it 😀


          • #6
            It's crazy how with the success of the football team how this game kind of snuck up on me. We have the advantage in experience and depth, which as Will said is rare. I think Barret is the best player in the game but I think Keldon really bothers him. I'm not sure PJ is big enough to contain Zion. I don't think people realize just how big, powerful, and quick he is. But, he's never played against a front line like ours so it'll be interesting to see how he handles it. But, I do t think they have much for us. I'm not one who is stressing over the exhibition games. We could've won those games by 100 if we wanted to. Sure, the effort wasn't there to an extent but it didn't have to be. It's similar to the preseason in the NFL. Guys aren't there flying around going 100%. We will be ready Tuesday night. I want to see how K handles this group because it's a pretty new concept to him. Long, athletic, young, and not a bunch of shooting. I don't see his typical tendencies will work with this team, but we shall see. In the end I think UK wins it by a dozen.


            • #7
              I agree with a lot of what has already been said. I also think Johnson will do a decent job of keeping Barrett in check. And I think PJ will be fine against Zion. The big concern for me is Reddish. Not sure who guards him. I expect UK will dominate the interior. Double double for Travis. And I think Richards has a good game as well. In the end an 8-10 point UK win. And I will also be there to see it.


              • #8
                I know you both will enjoy the game. Cheer them on for the rest of us, and please don't yell at the officials.
                John 3:3


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lighthouse View Post
                  I know you both will enjoy the game. Cheer them on for the rest of us, and please don't yell at the officials.
                  I'm not making any promises. 😁


                  • #10
                    Both teams are very similar in that they are very young and relying heavily on good and talented freshman. I know UK isn't playing good defense at this time and I'm sure Duke isn't either/ Both teams will look completely different in March than what they are now. This has to be one of t he hardest games to pick in recent memory because its such an early game and the inexperience of both teams. I haven't seen Duke play, of course, but have seen UK. UK's defense is pretty bad at this point so I will go with Duke in a close high scoring game. I hope I'm wrong but here goes:

                    Duke 87
                    UK 84

                    The game is Tuesday night/ It is the 2nd game of the Champions Classic and will be played 30 minutes after the first game which should be around 9:30 pm. ESPN is covering it. My DVR is set as it is way too late for me on a work night.

                    This isn't the first time UK and Duke the first game of the season. Way back in 1979 they began the season in the Hall of Fame Tip Off Classic. Duke won that game in overtime. Duke had a very veteran team with Gene Banks and Mike Gminski. They had actually played on the Duke team that lost to UK in the 1978 finals. Also Duke had Lexington native Vince Taylor on that team. I'm sure they were ranked very high,maybe number one. UK had a very young team. They brought in one of the most heralded classes UK had ever had up until Calipari arrived. Sam Bowie, Derrick Hord, Dirk Minniefield and Charles Hurt were in that class. Also on that team was Kyle Macy and Dwight Anderson. Hopes were high for them but freshman were different then and weren't expected to be really good to start. Bowie had a huge game that day. He scored 22 points and had 17 rebounds. It was jaw dropping dropping to watch a 7 foot player play all over the floor like he did. UK played a great game and nearly pulled it out. Even though they lost I remember feeling very hopeful about that season and the seasons to come.

                    Kentucky fan since 1971.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lighthouse View Post
                      I know you both will enjoy the game. Cheer them on for the rest of us, and please don't yell at the officials.
                      Only when they are wrong.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by teamchemistry15 View Post
                        I'm not sure PJ is big enough to contain Zion.
                        He's definitely big enough. I think Zion's size might be an issue this year. I've heard people say he might be 6'4".

                        However, Zion is one of those players who could be unguardable if he can hit shots. He's too explosive. If he makes you come out, you're doomed. Best-case scenario for Kentucky is that he takes a couple of early shots, clanks, and it rattles him.

                        But they'll probably throw a few different looks at him in this game. You'd think Reid Travis will be on him a bit. They might even stick Keldon Johnson on him in certain situations.

                        One thing you don't want to do is let him get out early in the game and throw down a thunderous dunk or two. Kentucky should have a pretty substantial crowd advantage, and you don't want Duke to get squirrely in the first minutes of the game.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by catfaninin View Post
                          I agree with a lot of what has already been said. I also think Johnson will do a decent job of keeping Barrett in check. And I think PJ will be fine against Zion. The big concern for me is Reddish. Not sure who guards him.
                          If we see the line-up we saw the other night it'll probably be Herro.

                          Hagans v. Jones
                          Herro v. Reddish
                          Johnson v. Barrett
                          Washington v. Zion
                          Travis v. DeLaurier/Bolden

                          Herro has probably broken down defensively a bit less than Johnson in the exhibitions, but I think he'll go with Johnson on Barrett at least to start.

                          Alex O'Connell off the bench is a worrying player as well. His energy is hard to match. If you're not playing with intensity he'll just outwork you, and he can shoot. One of the wild card players to watch.


                          • #14
                            Kentucky will have to guard better than they did in the two exhibition games. That was abysmal defense.

                            With that said, I'm not sure Duke has the depth to keep up with Kentucky for forty minutes. They'll probably have the two best players on the court, so that's always a factor.

                            In the end, the Cats wear out the Devils, and pull out a 72-64 win.


                            • #15
                              Is the game tonight or Tuesday??? The Cats Pause has it tomorrow night but the Paducah paper has it tonight???? Thanks for any help!!!!!



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                              Friends, It's Duke Week