By LARRY VAUGHT
Jon Sundvold, former University of Missouri All-American and nine-year NBA veteran, has been a men’s college basketball analyst since 1994 and he likes a lot he has seen from coach John Calipari’s team this season.
“Maybe rebounding at times is an issue because they do not have a lot of girth and they could have a hard time against veteran guards who can turn the corner,” Sundvold said. “But what’s great about this team is that it is so unselfish. The mixture of young and old players who are stable pieces is terrific.
“Night in, night out you cannot be sure what you might get from an 18 year old but players 22 and 23 (Tre Mitchell, Antonio Reeves) can carry you through the bumps.”
Sundvold correctly predicted the SEC would challenge Kentucky to get the Cats ready for the NCAA Tournament and that proved to be accurate when the Cats lost at South Carolina.
“They will be challenged to see if they can handle some things on the road like the game at South Carolina,” Sundvold said. “But they have got a team that is exciting. It is almost old-fashioned the way they pass the basketball. They are a difficult team to zone because of their movement and the number of guys that can rise up and shoot with great depth.”
Sundvold said it seems like every week Kentucky is getting better in a different way.
“The ball does not get stuck with them,” Sundvold said. “They are scary good offensively. They have some defensive lapses at times but they can make passes and make shots. They are unselfish and if they are in an up and down game they are deadly. They have guys who can handle it and are great foul shooters. A backcourt who can do that and not turn it over is going to seal games at the end in big games.”
However, South Carolina did show the blueprint to beat Kentucky. Another SEC analyst, Dane Bradshaw, believes UK has a “Final Four offense but round of 32 defense” currently.
“On offense if you take good shots that gives you the ability to get back against Kentucky and get your defense set even if you miss the shot,” SEC analyst Pat Bradley said. “Playing a slower half-court offense slowed Kentucky down and Kentucky has to learn how to handle that.”