January 26, 2013
A quick look at three stats that illustrate how this game could go:
1) LSU loves to create turnovers. forcing 17.2 per game. The Tigers do so mainly through steals -- their 15.2 percent steal rate is fifth nationally this year, three spots behind Louisville. Point guard Anthony Hickey -- former Mr. Kentucky -- leads the nation with 3.86 steals per game.
Can the Cats take care of the ball? Ryan Harrow had done great -- including that 39-minute, 0-turnover performance against the Cards -- but he's been a bit more of a question mark recently. All but five of his 22 turnovers this season have come in the last six games (Eastern Michigan plus SEC play). Can he hold up against LSU's pressure?
2) Kentucky's offense focuses on the interior. According to ESPN, UK is tied with Syracuse for the most points per game that come from the paint. Better news? LSU is allowing opponents to make 51.4 percent of their two-pointers in SEC play, the worst rate in the league. The Wildcats should be able to attack the basket and score inside.
3) Threes. LSU likes to shoot from outside -- 36.4 percent of their shots are from behind the arc -- and they can get hot from deep. The Tigers have made 33.9 percent of their shots on the season -- nothing great there -- but they've made nine or more treys seven times. (However, they never shot better than 50 percent from outside in any of those instances.) LSU will likely be putting up shots from outside, and could make a few. But the Cats need to guard the perimeter to prevent an explosion of 3-pointers from LSU, a heavy underdog.