UK BASKETBALL | Is tempo Kentucky's key to success in 2015-16?

11/03/2015 02:45 PM

LEXINGTON — Basketball. Is. Back!!!

The Kentucky Wildcats tipped off the 2015-16 season Monday night with an exhibition game against Ottawa University, and as you would expect, the game was over well before halftime.

UK raced out to a 13-0 lead in the opening minutes and kept its foot on the gas the rest of the way, running the Braves off the court for a 117-58 blowout victory in front of over 20,000 thousand members of Big Blue Nation at Rupp Arena.

  • “We shared it, and I thought we did a fairly good job of executing, being a brand-new team,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said after the game. “Ottawa is a team we should beat, and we should beat by a lot.”

The Wildcats topped the Braves in almost every statistical category, shooting 60% from the field and 55% from three, dishing out 32 assists, and scoring an incredible 66 points in the paint.

But the main takeaway for the night was Kentucky’s tempo, pushing the pace and pressing at every opportunity to the tune of 26 fast-break points.

  • “We needed to press,” Calipari said. “We did it for two reasons: conditioning, and I wanted us just to keep guys in and let them try to see where they are if we had to play a full game.”

Depth and conditioning will be very important to the Wildcats this season if they want to continuously push the pace up and down the court, but that doesn’t mean any player will be awarded free minutes.

  • “Now I’m like, How many minutes did he have? How many minutes has he been in there? What you’re asking, you can’t keep guys in seven straight minutes the way we’re playing if we’re going to press and run. But I have played guys.
  • “Right now if I went in and said, ‘Tyler, you want to give up your minutes to anybody?’
  • “‘No.’
  • “‘Like give two minutes up.’
  • “‘No.’
  • “‘Jamal, will you give up some of your minutes?’
  • “‘Nuh-uh.’
  • “‘Jamal, give up five.’
  • “‘No.’
  • “‘Isaiah, you going to give up minutes?’
  • “If guys deserve to be out there, that’s what I’m going to do … I’ll do that, oh, yeah. I will do that. Like if someone else doesn’t deserve to play, you’re not playing. Earn your minutes.”

Cllick below to watch KSTV’s discussion on the Kentucky vs. Ottawa exhibition, explaining how an uptempo pace will help the Wildcats this season:


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