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Men's Basketball

TV Info and Things to Know: Kentucky vs North Florida



UK Athletics

Following an embarrassing showing against Gonzaga, the Kentucky Wildcats will look to get back in the win column on Thanksgiving eve, playing the North Florida Ospreys.

This will be the second time the two teams have matched up, with the inaugural game being played last season with Kentucky winning 86-52. This season, the final score should look similar, with the Osprey’s being a sub-200 KenPom team for the second straight season.

Interestingly enough, the Ospreys and the Wildcats have three common opponents. Here is how the two teams have compared against those teams.

  • Duquense: UK won by 25, UNF lost by 1
  • Gonzaga: UK lost by 16, UNF lost by 41
  • South Carolina State: UK won by 43, UNF won by 6

North Florida’s star player is Carter Hendricksen, who is originally a Kentucky native from Mount Sterling. Prior to the season, Hendricksen received his third preseason All-ASUN First Team selection, and he is living up to that, averaging 14,7 points and 8 rebounds per game.

With the basics out of the way, let’s take a closer look at Wednesday’s matchup.

Could this be a Damion Collins breakout game?

Coming into college as a freshman, Collins stood 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan but just 200 pounds. Returning with the same physically gifted length, Collins has added some extra weight and added to his skill set.

This paid off leading up to the season, with John Calipari saying that Collins was the best player in the team’s practices on his first call-in show of the season. However, Damion’s father Ben passed away just before the start of the regular season.

Calipari said it’s about helping Collins through the tragedy and getting him back to that level of confidence.


What better way to do that than to face a familiar foe?

Last season, Collins had one of the best performances of his college career against the Ospreys, recording his second-highest career totals in points (12) and rebounds (6).

Offensive Structure

Following the Gonzaga game, there was one fan that compared the Kentucky offense to a “chicken running around with it’s head cut off”. At times it certainly looked like that.

Look at this example, where poor execution and improvisation leads to a forced a 15-foot turnaround by Oscar Tshiebwe.


This is clearly not the offense that John Calipari wants, but he is the man in charge and has the task of fixing it.

Thus far, the Kentucky offense has been a tale of two sides.

Against inferior opponents, Kentucky’s offense has looked extremely dynamic, averaging 92.7 points on 52.9 percent shooting from the field and 47.8 percent from three.

However, against their two ranked opponents, the Kentucky offense has looked vastly different, averaging 74.5 points per contest on 39.6 percent shooting from the field and 26 percent from three.


One of the biggest reasons for this has been the lack of production from Fredrick-Reeves-Livingston in these big-time games. It’s important to play to their strengths and get them comfortable within the offense.

Last season, Kentucky lost early season matchups to Duke and Notre Dame and was seen as a title favorite in late January before injuries. I would argue that Michigan State and Gonzaga are better-quality losses, so hope is not lost for the Wildcats.

Yet, lineup and offense issues need to be examined and fixed in the coming weeks before competition starts to ramp back up.

More Effort

Kentucky came out of the gate unprepared. Pair this with a 5-5 start from the field from Gonzaga – including two three-pointers – vs a 1-7 start from the Wildcats, and the wind was taken out of their sails.


With that being said, that does not excuse a lack of effort. Which was made most evident by their 24-14 rebound disadvantage to Gonzaga in the first half.

Senior Jacob Toppin was the first to admit it. “We had no fight in the first half and we put ourselves in a hole that we couldn’t get out of,” Toppin said in the postgame press conference.

While North Florida shouldn’t pose a threat to win, the Wildcats need to respond to Sunday’s performance with fight. This needs to be shown on the boards and on the defensive end.

Kentucky Basketball vs. North Florida Ospreys

Time/Date: 3:00 ET November 23rd
Location: Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky
TV Channel: Only on streaming (SEC Network+)
Announcers: No announcers scheduled based on the ESPN Press schedule.
Online Stream: WatchESPNESPN+, SEC Network+, or the ESPN app.
Radio: Tom Leach and Jack Givens will have the UK radio network call on WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, and the UK Sports Network.
Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings).
Rosters: UK | UNF
Stats To Know: UK | UNF
Team SheetsUK | UNF
Live Stats


Odds: The betting line has yet to be released. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Wildcats a 96.1% chance of winning, and Bart Torvik has it at 97%.

PredictionsBart Torvik has Kentucky winning in a blowout, with a final score of 86-64

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  1. Pingback: Jacob Toppin Calls Out Team and Himself for Lack of Fight against Gonzaga - KY Insider

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Men's Basketball

WKU Coach Rick Stansbury Says Dontaie Allen Was Ineligible to Play at Kentucky Last Season, UK Received Fine



Instagram/Dontaie Allen

Former Kentucky Wildcat, Dontaie Allen, had a rocky time in Lexington to say it best, averaging just 4 .2 points in 10.6 minutes per game. This led him to look for a change of scenery, and he ultimately transferred to Western Kentucky.

Through three games, Allen is averaging 8 points per game on 44 percent shooting from three, yet he hasn’t played since November 12th and has missed four straight games. Why?

On November 21st, Western Kentucky’s official Twitter account released a statement that explained that Allen was not available due to “an eligibility matter related to his previous school [Kentucky].”


While that left plenty of questions to be asked, WKU head coach Rick Stansbury addressed them on Saturday after the Hilltoppers beat South Carolina State.

Stansbury claims that Kentucky unknowingly allowed Dontaie Allen, who he says was also unaware, to play while ineligible during last season’s fall semester. While no specifics were given, Stansbury says the eligibility concerns arise from grade issues that were not found until Allen entered his name into the transfer portal.

As a result, Kentucky was fined $500 for each game Allen appeared in during the fall semester (seven games; $3,500 total fine), despite playing limited minutes. However, a decision has yet to be reached on Allen’s current eligibility status.

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Men's Basketball

Kentucky Basketball Introduces Most Impactful Player Belt, Oscar Tshiebwe First Winner



Twitter/UK Sports Network

On Thanksgiving Eve the Kentucky Wildcats got back to their winning ways as they beat the North Florida Ospreys 96-56 in impressive fashion.

Of course in the process, Oscar Tshiebwe, got his usual double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds. After the game, Tshiebwe was seen sporting some new hardware called the “Most Impactful Player (MIP) Belt”.

In his postgame press conference, John Calipari talked about the new award that will be given out following each win this season. “Now we have a belt that we give out after wins, the most impactful player. Who impacted the game. The staff gets it and it’s a big shiny belt. Maybe they will show you,” Calipari said.


Despite twenty-point games from Jacob Toppin (also recorded a double-double) and Antonio Reeves, Calipari attributed Thsiebwe with doing the extra things.

“He[Tshiebwe] was the most impactful, not because of points and rebounds, because he had five assists, he had three steals, and two blocks. That’s impacting the game. He’ll have the belt until the next win. You don’t get, no belts on a loss. But maybe if he didn’t take it already, because he wore it. He was wearing it around the locker room.”

It will be interesting to see which players win this award over the course of the season, but as valuable as Tshiebwe is, it is safe to assume he will have the belt a lot.

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Men's Basketball

Examining Which Lineups Worked Against Gonzaga, Shot Selection Comparison



UK Athletics

The Kentucky Wildcats have looked dominant against inferior competition. In three games against sub-100 KenPom teams, the Wildcats have averaged 92.7 points on 52.9 percent shooting from the field and 47.8 percent from three, while only giving up 59.3 points per game.

However, against their two ranked opponents, Kentucky has looked vastly different on both ends of the floor. In those games, the Wildcats have averaged 74.5 points per contest on 39.6 percent shooting from the field and 26 percent from three, while giving up 82.5 points per game.

Struggling to find their early season footing, John Calipari is still experimenting with lineups and has cited injuries and a lack of practice time as reasons for this.


With that being said, let’s take a look at what lineups did and did not work against Gonzaga, as well as the shot selection.

Offensive Lineups

Following the Gonzaga game, there was one fan that compared the Kentucky offense to a “chicken running around with its head cut off”. At times it certainly looked like that.

Just take a look at the first offensive possession of the game. After getting the tip, the Wildcats forced a busted play and shot a contested three at the end of the shot clock.

This obviously is not the offense that Calipari wants. After the game, Calipari said that this specific play was one they had gone over in the huddle just seconds before tipoff and that he was “embarrassed” at the lack of execution.


So which lineups executed the best?

  • Wheeler-Wallace-Fredrick-Toppin-Tshiebwe: 20 possessions played, 31.6% FG, 14.3% 3P, .7 points per possession, Zero TOs,
  • Wallace-Fredrick-Reeves-Toppin-Tshiebwe: 20 possessions played, 56.3% FG, 60% 3P, 1.05 points per possession, 4 TOs,
  • Wallace-Fredrick-Reeves-Toppin-Ware: 12 possessions played, 18.2% FG, 0% 3P, .5 points per possession, TOs, Zero TOs
  • Reeves-Fredrick-Livingston-Toppin-Tshiebwe: 8 possessions played, 25% FG, 0% 3P, .5 points per possession, 2 TOs,

Unsurprisingly, the best lineup in terms of production featured Wallace-Fredrick-Reeves-Toppin-Tshiebwe, five players that are a threat to score in a variety of ways. This lineup was the only Kentucky lineup that average more than 1 point per possession.

The other most played lineup was similar but included Wheeler instead of Reeves. This isn’t to say that this lineup did not do good things, as there were no turnovers and the second-most points per possession. However, Gonzaga was able to sag off Wheeler, and could put more effort into guarding Fredrick and Tshiebwe in that lineup.

Proving himself as one of the best ball distributors in the country in back-to-back seasons, Wheeler deserves to play, but Calipari needs to scheme around his weaknesses, which he suggested he is doing on Monday’s call-in show.

Defensive Lineups

With the size and length of this roster, this year’s Kentucky Wildcats has the chance to be one of the best defensive teams of the Calipari era. However, they are from that at the moment.


Against Gonzaga, Kentucky rarely forced the Bulldogs into difficult shots. In fact, of their 88 points, they scored 44 of them in the paint.

With that said, Kentucky did have some lineups that were effective, but at the cost of offense. With the two aforementioned lineups above, Gonzaga forced the ball over, but still averaged more than 1 point per possession and shot well over 50 percent from the field.

  • Wallace-Fredrick-Reeves-Toppin-Tshiebwe: 20 possessions played, 58.3% FG, 1.2 points per possession, 4 forced TOs
  • Wheeler-Wallace-Fredrick-Toppin-Tshiebwe: 18 possessions played, 70% FG, 1.056 points per possession, 7 forced TOs
  • Wallace-Fredrick-Reeves-Toppin-Ware: 12 possessions played, 37.5% FG, .667 points per possession, 8 forced TOs
  • Reeves-Fredrick-Livingston-Toppin-Tshiebwe: 6 possessions played, 25% FG, .667 points per possession, 4 forced TOs

The two lineups that were effective included Ware and Livingston, and the one common denominator they bring is toughness.

Ware can be played in spurts, but has shown that he exceeds primarily on offense in pick-and-roll situations. Whereas Livingston is just a freshman and still has room to grow his offensive game, but hasn’t gotten the game time to do so.

Also, as the season goes along and he develops, don’t be surprised to see Ugonna Onyenso in some situations due to his elite shot-blocking ability.


Shot Selection

The shot chart on the left is against South Carolina State, just days before the matchup with Gonzaga, which shot chart is on the right.

What is the difference?

On the left, is the ideal modern offensive shot chart, showing strictly threes and shots inside the paint. In that game, Kentucky scored 80 of their 106 points in the paint or from three, showing that they played efficiently.

Whereas, on the right, shots are scattered across the county including plenty of mid-range shots. This shows just how much duress the offense was in.

Obviously, there is a different level of defense that the Wildcats are playing in each of the shot charts. With that said, ineffective lineups and lack of execution amplify the problems.


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