Montana St.-Kentucky Preview
Kentucky's dominance through the season's first week leaves little doubt about the Wildcats' legitimacy.
The top-ranked Wildcats look to post another convincing victory Sunday against winless Montana State.
John Calipari, touting perhaps his deepest roster since arriving in Lexington in 2009, has employed his "platoon" system to the tune of four convincing wins in four opportunities thus far. The Wildcats rolled past Boston University 89-65 on Friday, three days after dismantling No. 5 Kansas 72-40 in the Champions Classic.
The Terriers held tight with Kentucky (4-0) into the second half, trailing by only three points with under 15 minutes remaining before eventually pulling away. Following the win over Kansas, the Wildcats slow start Friday was exactly what Calipari expected.
''These guys are not computers, they're not machines, they're human beings, and I expected a letdown," Calipari said. "I was hoping it wasn't too bad.
"But again, here's the good stuff: You shoot 58 percent, you have 24 assists and 13 turnovers, you win by 24 and we're all upset. So it probably means we're not bad."
"We all expect this team to be world beaters every night out, and let me say, folks, they're not going to be," Calipari said. "There are games I'm going to have to drag them across the finish line. They're normal 19, 18, 20-year-old kids."
Kentucky blocked nine shots and forced Boston to shoot 38.5 percent from the field.
That defensive pressure stands as a focal point for this Kentucky team. The Wildcats have limited opponents to 30.7 percent shooting, no opponent has shot 40 percent, they've forced 17.8 turnovers per game and are averaging 9.3 blocks.
The Wildcats have outscored their opponents by 28.8 points per game and outrebounded them by 15.0 per contest, but most impressive may be that the team has averaged only 11.5 turnovers.
Still, in spite of the eye-popping numbers, Calipari knows his team is nowhere near ready for March.
"The Kansas game on defense, we looked like a January team," Calipari said. "On offense, we looked like a November team. Today we looked like November. And it's what you have."
Kentucky has never faced Montana State (0-3), which is looking for its first win this season. The Bobcats dropped contests to UCLA, Grand Canyon and, most recently, Cal State Northridge 72-65 on Wednesday.
Montana State is shooting 39.2 percent and committing 20.3 turnovers per game. They've allowed opponents to shoot 51.2 percent from the field and average 82.0 points.