Well there is one person who believes Kentucky is going to lose tomorrow night when they take on Portland in the Rose Garden. Senior point guard Jared Stohl was quoted saying, “Hope to see you out there Friday,” Stohl says in a 10-second video message to Portland fans. “We’re going to need you guys when we beat Kentucky.”
Stohl is the leading scorer for the Portland Pilots this season, sitting right around 16 ppg. and is shooting 57-percent from the field. The Pilots are not going to be a team you can just walk over. They look similar to the Cornell team Kentucky met in the NCAA tournament last season.
The Pilots are a very good shooting team, with all five starters shooting above 55-percent from the field. It’s safe to say the Pilots know how to put the ball in the hoop. What we don’t know is how they are going to react against a much more athletic team.
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Portland has posted wins against UW-Milwaukee, UC Davis and Florida Atlantic. None of which have seemed to give the Pilots much trouble.
Luke Sikma could be a difference maker for the Pilots. The 6’8″ forward has been active at both ends of the floor. He is averaging a double-double for the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds a game.
Granted 6’8″ doesn’t look like much but the ball seems to be finding Sikma coming off the glass. If he is able to get on the boards Kentucky could have their work cut out for them.
With that being said Kentucky is Kentucky and it shouldn’t be any different than when they take on other lesser opponents. Kentucky played a very good game against East Tennessee. They shot 50-percent from behind the arc and when you shoot like that nobody in the country is going to be able to keep up with you.
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The three big name freshmen were the key factors in Kentucky’s last game. No one played a better game then Terrence Jones. He went off in his debut for 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Jones is going to have to be a consistent player this season for the Wildcats to compete. Without a true talent in the post Jones is going to be looked to for not only scoring but rebounding.
One other little factor that could play into the freshman’s night is he will be playing a game at home. Jones is from Portland, Oregon and the homecoming game could end up being a big night for Jones.
Doron Lamb will be another big factor. He came off the bench versus ETSU and all he did was go for 20 bench points and was the second highest scorer in the game. He also showcased the three-point shooting that everyone was told about, hitting three of the five three’s he took.
The ‘Cats shouldn’t be in too much trouble tomorrow night if they play like they did against ETSU. One thing you never want to see with a young team is a slow start. If the Wildcats start off slow John Calipari could have a rough time getting them going.
Portland will be undersized against UK which is not something the Wildcats should get used to hearing. Expect the freshmen trio to play well and with the help of Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins the ‘Cats should be able to put the Pilots away pretty easy.
Final: Kentucky 92 Portland 75