Gameday Opponent Breakdown – Game 4 – Kentucky Wildcats

Opponent: Kentucky Wildcats

Conference: SEC

Record: 3-1; Wins vs Maryland (72-68), Lafayette (101-49) and Morehead State (81-70), L vs Duke (68-75)

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: Fox Sports South, ESPN3, ESPN Full Court/UK Radio

History between teams: 4th meeting; Kentucky leads series 2-1. Last played on 3/17/47, Kentucky won 66-62 in the opening round at the NIT at Madison Square Garden. This will be first ever non-neutral site game between schools.

Game Notes:

LIU Brooklyn: http://www.liuathletics.com/documents/2012/11/22/MBB_Game_Notes_-_Kentucky.pdf?id=517
Kentucky: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/kty/sports/m-baskbl/auto_pdf/2012-13/release/release_20121123aaa.pdf

Who to watch for on Kentucky:

#22 Alex Poythress – 6’7″ – F – Fr. -16.7 ppg/6.7 rpg/70 FG%/50 3PT% – 2o pts/8 rebs in last game vs Morehead State
#33 Kyle Wiltjer – 6’10” – F – So. – 15.7 ppg/4.3 rpg/53.3 FG%/63.2 3PT% – Scored 9 pts in last game vs Morehead State
#10 Archie Goodwin – 6’4″ – G – Fr. – 15.0 ppg/3.7 rpg/3 apg/66.7 3PT% –28 pts/6 rebs/4 asts in last game vs Morehead State
#3 Nerlens Noel – 6’10” – F/C – Fr. – 11.7 ppg/8.0 rpg/52.0 FG%/2.3 bpg – 9 pts/11 rebs/6 blocks in last game vs Morehead State

Matchups to watch:

The best matchup to watch out for tonight is Alex Poythress versus Jamal Olasewere. Can Olasewere stay aggressive on Poythress without getting into foul trouble or getting his shots blocked by Nerlens Noel?

Outlook:

I’m a realist. I would love to wave the pom-poms and say the Blackbirds can hang in there with Kentucky for a half. In my heart of hearts, I can’t do it. Kentucky is superiorly better at every position. They have first round NBA talent (yet again) for a starting five. The only shot LIU Brooklyn has of staying within single-digits of Kentucky is make 75% of their threes, over 90% of their free throws, keep then off the offensive glass and hope they get into foul trouble or have ice-cold shooting night. Yes, I do know that Morehead State gave Kentucky a game on Wednesday before losing to the ‘Cats by 11. I think that is even more reason to be somewhat less optimistic that Kentucky will play back-to-back poor (by their standards) games. Kentucky has too much talent for LIU to overcome here and if they go into the game short-handed in the front court as is expected without Kenny Onyechi and possibly without Booker Hucks, it just puts so much pressure on the starting five to pretty much play a nearly flawless game just to hang in the game.

Kentucky is currently on a nation-best 54 straight home win streak at Rupp Arena. The odds are nearly insurmountable. The Blackbirds just have to take this opportunity to get themselves better and hopefully leave out of it healthy in order to get ready for a nice little home streak run coming up for them. The Blackbirds will undoubtedly run but this is not the team you want to run with. The Wildcats have no qualms with embarrassing you on their home floor. If the game gets out of hand early, Kentucky will look to put on a fast break show and dunk fest and there is nothing or no one on LIU who can stop it. LIU just need to go into Rupp, play solidly, do nothing foolish and leave there in one piece. I’m not saying fear the ‘Cats, LIU shouldn’t fear anyone and really they don’t but they got to respect them because if not this could get really ugly really fast.

Fun Facts:

This is LIU Brooklyn’s third time in their history playing a defending NCAA Tournament champion. The first came on December 16, 1939 in which LIU played the 1939 NCAA champ Oregon who happened to be the very first NCAA tournament champ at Madison Square Garden. LIU defeated the defending national champs 56-55. The second time LIU played a defending NCAA champ was in 1946 in which LIU played Oklahoma A&M now better known as Oklahoma State at Madison Square Garden on December 12, 1946. LIU also won that game 47-46. So LIU is 2-0 all-time versus defending NCAA national champs. Also, this is the first time LIU Brooklyn will be playing a top 10 ranked team since playing at Purdue back in the 1997-98 season.

Ken Pomeroy’s Game Projection:

Ken Pomeroy on his website projects a 94-69 loss for the Blackbirds with a slim 4% probability of an LIU victory (it is actually up 1% from earlier in the week!). If LIU loses this game, they will have been the only team in the five-team, four-game Barclays Center Classic round-robin that went winless. To be fair also, they were the only team in the BBC that didn’t play a home game on their own home court even though the opening game versus Morehead State was considered a home game.

Up Next:

The Blackbirds makes their 2012-13 Wellness Center home debut, returning back home to take on the Columbia Lions on Wednesday, November 28. Start time is scheduled for 7pm. Game will be streamed live on NEC Front Row, free of charge.

BONUS!!:

LIU Brooklyn Athletics this week released the first installment of The Jack Perri Show. The opening music is worth hitting play alone!

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