Morehead State head coach Sean Woods will get a chance to conquer his alma mater when his Eagles take on the No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on Wednesday night.
Woods, who was a member of the "Untouchables" in the early '90s and famously hit the shot before Christian Laettner hit The Shot, will be in an unorthodox position on the opposite bench, but you can bet he'll still be aiming for a win against his old school.
The budding head coach, in his first year with Morehead State, is off to a solid 3-1 start, but he hasn't come close to playing a team like the defending champion 2-1 Wildcats, who, led by John Calipari, boast an incredible amount of young talent.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know about this intriguing, lesser-known in-state battle.
Where: Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
When: Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Watch: Fox Sports South/UK IMG.
Listen: A list of affiliates around Kentucky can be found here.
Live Stream: WatchESPN
What's At Stake?
Not a whole lot. A win for Morehead State would undoubtedly give the Eagles the most national attention they've received since Kenneth Faried and company upset Louisville two years ago. It would also go a long way in improving their resume, but the Ohio Valley Conference will never get two teams into the Big Dance.
Kentucky, meanwhile, is in odd position. The Wildcats are expected to win, but it would be a travesty if they lost. Again, it's hard for a November game to have much of an effect on the rest of the season, but an in-state upset like this would be a horrendous loss.
Morehead State Injury Report (via USA Today)
No injuries to report
Kentucky Injury Report (via USA Today)
Ryan Harrow, Flu, Questionable
It's a bit of a mysterious situation surrounding Harrow, who has been out since pretty much the second half of the season opener against Maryland 11 days ago, but there is hope he'll practice on Tuesday.
What They're Saying
Apparently a high-intensity matchup against the school where's he essentially a cult hero just wasn't enough for Sean Woods.
Morehead State's head coach had to add to the intrigue by calling out Kentucky's current players for having a lack of historical knowledge (via Michael Grant of the Louisville Courier-Journal):
Woods said he didn’t like “the vibe” and said he sensed a feeling of entitlement.
“These kids don’t know anything,” the Indianapolis native said. “I’ll bet you any type of money that besides the kids from Kentucky that are on UK’s team, they couldn’t tell you anything about one player in the history of Kentucky basketball. When I walked in the door I knew about every player, everything history-wise, but these kids don’t. It’s a shame, but that’s just the way society is.”
Woods did, however, slightly take those comments back. But considering freshman Willie Cauley-Stein revealed earlier this month he had never heard of Laettner's shot, the head coach might have a point on the history front.
Morehead State Player to Watch: Milton Chavis, F
There's no question that senior Milton Chavis has been Morehead State's most impressive player during this early season.
In just 23.5 minutes per game, the 6'6", 210-pound forward is averaging an impressive 17.3 points per contest, which is more than double anyone else on the team.
He's also fourth on the team in rebounding (4.0 per game) and is using his impressive length to rack up a ridiculous 3.3 steals per game, which is good for 20th-most in the country.
Chavis has a tough test on his hands, as he'll likely have to match up with Archie Goodwin or Alex Poythress, but there's no question that he is the key for a major upset on Wednesday.
Kentucky Player to Watch: Alex Poythress, F
Pick a player, any player.
Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer, the "veteran" of the team, has an old-school inside-outside dynamic to his game despite being just under seven feet tall.
Freshman Archie Goodwin is unstoppable when he gets a head of steam towards the basket.
Nerlens Noel, who was probably the most highly-touted incoming player, is living up to the billing on the statsheet: He's averaging a video-game like 11.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 3.3 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. His offensive game needs some work, but his ability to disrupt an opposing team's gameplan all by himself hasn't been overstated.
Nonetheless, I still have to go with the freshman Poythress.
At 6'7", 239 pounds, you'd probably call him a collegiate power forward. His knack for being impossible to keep off the offensive glass and gaudy power on put-back dunks would certainly back up that fact.
But Poythress is also crazy athletic—which has also been on display during some of those monstrous early-season dunks—and can play the wing if needed.
He looked shaky in his collegiate debut against Maryland, but Poythress has proven to be a downright terrifying specimen during Kentucky's last two games.
Prediction: Morehead State 57, Kentucky 90
Morehead State and Kentucky have already faced a common opponent. The Eagles lost to Maryland by 22 while the Wildcats escaped with a three-point win over the Terrapins.
That's not the be-all-end-all factor, but it does give you a good idea of where these teams stand. Then again, so does the vast difference in historical success, talent, athleticism, coaching experience and pretty much everything else.
Sean Woods' longing to beat his old school will add an intriguing storyline, but don't expect this one to be close.
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