User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Kentucky remains a work in progress

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The happiness expressed by Kentucky players after their victory over Boise State wasn't just because they played the type of game indicative of their abilities.

Advertisement
For once, the 11th-ranked Wildcats had a performance to build from.

That's a big issue for Kentucky (8-2), which faces another measuring stick Saturday at No. 18 North Carolina. The game will mark the young Wildcats' first on-campus road test after going 1-2 in neutral-site games.

They showed signs of growth Tuesday night in a 70-55 victory over Boise State. Though the Wildcats' highly touted freshmen remain a project with plenty of lessons to learn in a challenging month before Southeastern Conference play begins, they took a step forward and look forward to what's next against the Tar Heels (6-2).

''We're all thinking about the North Carolina game,'' guard/forward James Young said after leading the Wildcats with 21 points. ''This (Boise State) game is now in the past, and we're thinking about the next game, trying to do as good against them as we did (Tuesday night).''

Soul-searching followed Friday night's 67-62 loss to No. 14 Baylor that dropped Kentucky out of the top 10. What bothered the Wildcats more than losing a nine-point lead over the final 13 minutes was how they lost it - being outrebounded for the first time all season along with the Bears outworking them in other ways.

Other than a brief early lull that allowed the Broncos to take their only lead at 14-13, the Wildcats imposed their notable size advantage and will on them throughout. Kentucky outrebounded Boise State 43-27, shot 53 percent from the field and outscored the Broncos 44-24 in the paint.

Seven-foot sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein had nine of the Wildcats' 10 blocks, which made Boise State players think twice about taking subsequent attempts inside. The Wildcats ended up holding the nation's No. 2 offense 37 points below its average along with denying Boise State's quest for its first 9-0 start. The Broncos shot just 32 percent including 23 percent (8 of 35) in the second half.

More notable was how much better Kentucky was switching on defense, perhaps the best indication that things are slowly falling into place.

''We have some things we can do,'' Wildcats coach John Calipari said. ''We can be a terrific zone team, too, we're so big and long. But you've got to work at zone. In other words, you got to play harder in the zone than you do man to man...

''So, we've been working on it. Whether we're able to go to it, I don't know yet. But I think we've got some things. We're pressing more now. We did a couple different things in the press.''

It wasn't perfect, as Kentucky committed 19 turnovers. But Calipari has stressed that it will be an ongoing process with all the freshmen, who have had to learn basics such as how to huddle at the foul line and communicating.

Kentucky players will certainly need to do a lot of talking and executing at North Carolina in a matchup of college basketball's two winningest programs.

The Tar Heels have been up and down this season, beating defending national champion Louisville and top-ranked Michigan State but also losing to unranked Belmont and Alabama-Birmingham. They nonetheless remain a threat with Marcus Paige (18.8 points per game), Brice Johnson (13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds) and James M. McAdoo (13.0 points) leading the way.

Tempting as it might have been for the Wildcats to look past Boise State toward UNC, they managed to stay focused on the game at hand and came away with a satisfying victory they hopes to follow up against another traditional power also seeking consistency.

''I think this was a step forward for us,'' said freshman forward Julius Randle, who leads Kentucky at 17.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. ''We still had some breakdowns and there's a lot of stuff we could've worked on, but it's a step forward. ... Every game is a learning process for us.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: Sweet 16 - South Regional
Schwab: Sweet 16 - East Regional
Sportsbook: Friday's Top Action
Lawrence: Sweet 16 and Elite 8 Angles
Mejia: Sweet 16's Invaluable Players
Marshall: Remembering the '76 Hoosiers
Tennessee fires hoops coach Tyndall
St. John's coach Lavin out after 5 seasons
UNC's season ends in Sweet 16
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA BK  Hot Streaks
16-4 L4 Days, 26-8 Win Streak
5-1 L6 Picks, 15-4 L5 Days
9-0 L9 G-Plays, 23-11 L34 Picks
4-2 L6 G-Plays, +1,476 This Year
9-1 L10 Picks, 11-2 L13 Totals
12-6 L18 Guaranteed Plays
11-3 L14 NCAA Streak
4-0 L2 Days, 11-2 L13, 14-4 L18
11-4 L15 Over/Under Picks
13-5 L18 College Picks
19-11 L30 G-Plays, +1,107 TY
8-4 Last 12 Selections
5-2 Saturday, 15-8 L23 Run
8-2 L10 Picks, 5-1 L6 G-Plays
7-2 Record Last 4 Days
4-0 L4 G-Plays, 5-1 L6 Picks
NCAA BK College Basketball Expert Sports Picks- NCAA Tournament - Louisville Cardinals vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack
2014 CBK SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1476
Chip Chirimbes + 1432
John Fisher + 1107
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1593
Joe Williams + 1176
James Manos + 885
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Chip Chirimbes 55 %
Scott Pritchard 54 %
Kevin Rogers 53 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1671
John Fisher + 1334
Brian Edwards + 800
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1182
Andy Iskoe + 880
Kyle Hunter + 602
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
The SportsBoss + 722
Kevin Rogers + 356
Jim Feist + 295
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy Sager Bomb