Kentucky Basketball: Mismatches Wildcats Are Dreading in 2014-15
It might be shocking to fans of Kentucky basketball, but there will be mismatches in the 2014-15 season. Not just ones the Wildcats will be giving their opponents, either.
With an incredibly tough nonconference schedule that includes the likes of Texas, North Carolina, UCLA, Kansas and Louisville coupled with conference games, there isn't a walk in the park this year for Kentucky. Each team the Wildcats play poses a threat, whether it's a dominant center, a point guard who can control the tempo of the game or a wing player who can score both inside and out.
Sure, Kentucky is deep this year, with an expected rotation of 10 players, nine of which are McDonald's All-Americans and the other player being junior Willie Cauley-Stein. But there are a couple weaknesses on the roster that could be exploited by other talented teams, especially early in the year.
This slideshow will take a look at the individual players who pose a possible mismatch for the Wildcats in 2014-15.
Kelly Oubre, Kansas
The one position that can give the Wildcats the most trouble this year is small forward, especially athletic small forwards with size. This fits Kelly Oubre perfectly.
At 6'7" with a 7'1" wingspan, Oubre provides the size to match up with whoever Kentucky has playing the same position, whether it's Alex Poythress or Aaron Harrison. In fact, Oubre plays much like Poythress but is expected to be a better player, especially at the collegiate level.
The Texas native plays an extremely aggressive game, often looking to make SportsCenter's Top 10 with a highlight-reel dunk. He has range from the behind the arc but is inconsistent. While that could be beneficial, especially if he has a cold shooting night, the potential for him to get hot is equally as strong.
Chris Walker, Florida
Chris Walker is a player who can give Kentucky a taste of its own medicine. A 6'10" sophomore, Walker missed most of last season due to eligibility issues and decided to come back to Florida for another year.
He is a long, athletic post player who is extremely talented at blocking shots and finishing at the rim. While he's not as wide as Dakari Johnson, he's built more in the likes of Willie Cauley-Stein. Young will provide a mismatch for either of the two centers for the Wildcats because of his unique style.
Walker also provides more of a mismatch on the offensive side of the ball for Kentucky. Due to his ability to protect the rim, Kentucky will have to look to hit more outside shots than against most other opponents.
Myles Turner, Texas
Myles Turner is another athletic 6'10" center who will give Kentucky trouble due to his unique game and ability to play against all the big men on its roster.
While Walker is someone who finishes just at the rim and doesn't possess much of an offensive game outside of that, Turner is a good shooter for his size and often regarded as the best freshman defender in the nation. In fact, according to Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports, some college coaches compare him to the likes of former Kentucky great Anthony Davis.
College coaches have said he'll be a game-changer from the defensive side of the ball, and when it comes to talking about who will be the best pro from the class of 2015, Turner will have this clinched by far.
If Texas uses Turner in high pick-and-rolls against Kentucky, it can be a cause for concern with either of its centers coming up that high to have to challenge Turner's outside shot, or it may wear down someone like Willie Cauley-Stein if he had to play outside the lane.
Marcus Paige, North Carolina
A familiar face joins the list as junior Marcus Paige returns to North Carolina and is expected to give Kentucky trouble yet again. As a sophomore, he scored 23 points and recorded three steals in a five-point victory over the Wildcats.
Sure, Paige is only 6'1", and Kentucky has the size with the Harrison twins at 6'6" that would make it seem tougher for him to score against the Wildcats. However, Paige is extremely quick with great range and the ability to finish in unique ways in the paint.
His size and speed should make Kentucky play Tyler Ulis in this game for more minutes than the Wildcats might want to or be used to playing him. But if they leave a slower, bigger guard on him, it could lead to another easy 20-point game for Paige.