Kentucky Guards Will Need to Step Up To Compete With Florida

By Jon Hancock
Kentucky Wildcats Basketball
Mark Zerof-US Presswire

The Kentucky Wildcats come into Tuesday nights road game against No.6 Florida as 11-point underdogs. Kentucky is hoping to hold onto their top-25 ranking and continue to improve before March, but they must get great play by their guards if they want to compete.

South Carolina head coach Frank Martin, who faced and lost to Florida last month 75-36, said during the SEC teleconference today that your guards have to play well or the Gators will jump all over you. Kentucky’s guards haven’t exactly stepped up the past couple of weeks.

Point guard Ryan Harrow has been alright, although he hasn’t kept the intensity that coach John Calipari would expects in his point guards. Calipari usually allows his point guards to dictate and lead the team on the floor. Harrow hasn’t seemed to step into that mold yet.

Archie Goodwin has had some big games this year, but has been very inconsistent. He has the athletic ability to drive in and make big plays, which Calipari loves in a shooting guard. Lately, he hasn’t had the best shot selection, and has made some bad decisions with the basketball.

Coach Calipari responded to Martin’s comment Monday afternoon via the Courier-Journal:

We all know that, and our guards know that. This is the challenge. You can’t make excuses. You can’t cop out. Here it is. Let’s show what we are. Our team’s getting better, our guards are getting better, our bigs are getting better. We’re getting better as a team. We’re being more efficient. Turning it over a little more than we’d like at this time of the year.

The matchup underneath between Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Florida’s Patric Young will be a battle, but the game will be won by the guards. But if Noel gives Kentucky an advantage underneath, it will put a lot less pressure on the guards.

Kentucky really wants this win, it would improve their winning streak to six and give them a huge resume road win. Florida is trying to improve after losing to a less-than-average Arkansas team last week, 80-69.

Tipoff for the game will be 7pm (EST) on ESPN.


Follow Jon Hancock on Twitter @JonKYSportsco.

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