Everything you need to know: Kentucky vs North Dakota
What: Kentucky vs North Dakota
Where: Rupp Arena
Television: SEC Network
A little about North Dakota: The most interesting fact about tonight’s game is this tweet from UK historian Jon Scott
After Kentucky faces North Dakota tonight, they will have faced an opponent from every state in the Union. UK has a winning record against ALL of them, except Connecticut which they trail 3-4.
— bigbluehistory (@bigbluehistory) November 14, 2018
As for the team itself, the Fighting Hawks are 2-0 on the season after getting a tough road win at Milwaukee. They had a rough season last year and finished 12-20 in the Summit League. That was a big step back after they won the league in 2017 with a 22-9 record including 14-4 in conference. It should be a better year for them this season since they return 5 of their top 8 scorers and added a good group of freshmen. They typically play an up tempo style but could change that up against a team as fast as Kentucky. If they opt to run with the Cats, it could be a long night for North Dakota. They are not on the same level as Southern Illinois so this should be an easier win for Kentucky.
What the Cats need to do: It is all about hustle, energy and effort in this game. The Cats did a better job showing those things against Southern Illinios, but Cal will want to see them improve in those areas tonight. The other thing Cal will zero in on tonight will be his teams defensive effort. Defense has to become a strength for this team and at this point it is far from it. Figuring out the point guard position will continue to be a key for the team and Cal. Immanuel Quickley played very well against Southern Illinois but Ashton Hagans struggled. Having at least one play well is vital to the teams success but getting both to play well would really help. Tyler Herro and PJ Washington are the other two players that have had rough starts to the year. Getting them going tonight would be nice to see, and it couldn’t hurt their confidence. Counting tonight, Kentucky has 6 games and 24 days to prepare for the schedule to get a lot tougher. That makes each game against these so called “cupcakes” very important. The Cats need to make big strides during this time so they will be ready to compete against a much higher level of competition.
What will happen: The Cats should play their most complete game of the season and win by over 20 points. PJ Washington will have a double-double and Keldon Johnson will try to end a guys life with a nasty dunk. Oh, I almost forgot that Tyler Herro will make at least 3 threes on the night. It should be a confidence boosting game for the team and the fans alike.