Game Preview: Kentucky Takes on UT-Arlington

The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team is on a roll.

Coming off a record-breaking 86-28 win over the Montana State on Sunday night, the Wildcats close out the Cawood Ledford Classic against the UT-Arlington Mavericks tonight in Rupp Arena.

The Cats bring in an undefeated record at 5-0. In that five game stretch, which included a meeting with the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks, Kentucky has defeated their opponents by an average of 34.6 points. The largest win came against Montana state; the University of Buffalo came the closest to victory in their 19-point loss on November 16th.

Aaron Harrison comes in leading the Wildcats in scoring with 11.2 points per game. Dakari Johnson is right behind him with 10.8 points. The sophomore is also gathering 8.4 rebounds per game as well. The three freshmen are led by Karl-Anthony Towns, who is avergaing 3.6 blocks a game. He is also coming off a 6-block performance against Montana State.

The Mavericks come in with a 3-1 record and a 2-0 record on the road. They hope to surprise everyone and keep that streak going. Their one loss came to the University of Buffalo, the same team that came the closest to downing UK.

By most standards, Calipari’s platoon system has been working. While many question how long it will last, with five games under the team’s belt, Cal has proven success can be had this way. Nine of the ten member of the two platoon are averaging over six points a game (Marcus Lee is averaging 2.3). Most importantly, they are dominating opponents.

It seems like every night someone else is scoring. Against Boston University, it was Aaron Harrison dropping 19 on the Terriers. Against Montana State, the freshmen Devin Booker came alive with 18 points for the Cats. With Kansas, it was a true team effort, with all 10 platoon members scoring by halftime. You never know who will come alive for undefeated Wildcats.

UT-Arlington’s stat sheet looks somewhat similar to the Wildcats in the minute and point distribution. Three of their starters are averaging double digits. Senior guard Lonnie McCanahan leads the team with 12.2 points per game, while freshmen phenom Kevin Hervey has averaged a whopping 9.3 rebounds per game. He will need to hang strong in the paint with the big men of Kentucky if the Mavericks hope to have any success in Lexington.

The Cats are 32-point favorites in this one and there are view who see that as an unrealistic line. Every UT-Arlington squad-member will have to play the game of their lives for this to be a competitive match and even then, it is hard to see this going anyway but another victory for Kentucky. Look for Coach Cal to continue to work out his platoon system and for the Cats to continue rolling through the competition.

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