Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Donnie Tyndall's Take on Kentucky vs. Tennessee

If there's anyone who knows the Tennessee Volunteers well it's former head coach Donnie Tyndall.

I reached out to Coach Tyndall this afternoon to get his take on tonight's Kentucky vs. Tennessee game.

Tyndall's Take on Tennessee:

- UT is playing a lot of small ball this season.

- They do a nice job of opening up the floor

- They often have 5 guys on the court who can shoot the 3-pointer

What Kentucky Needs To Do:

- The Wildcats need to make Tennessee put the ball on the court and drive

- Kentucky can hurt UT in the paint with guys like Poythress

- UK should punish Tennessee on the boards; they should set a goal of 16-18 offensive rebounds against smaller players and that goal is certainly obtainable.

- Kentucky's guards can't settle for jumpers; the guards must drive to the basket, which creates opportunities to dish to the bigs and opens up rebounding angles.

Some Key Players for Tennessee:

- Kevin Punter: he's having a great senior season; can score in bundles. Kentucky will want to wear him down with tight man-to-man defense - make him earn every dribble and every basket.

- Armani Moore: he's been sporadic this season; he was the glue guy for me last year but he's had an up-and-down season; he's dangerous enough that he could put up 14-18 points; he causes a mismatch at the 4 position. If he goes for 15 points, UT has a legit chance tonight.

- Robert Hubbs III: Coach Barnes has challenged him in recent weeks in the paper and things. Tennessee needs more from Hubbs. He's certainly shown that he can put up 12-14 points a night.

How Has Kentucky Changed in Recent Weeks?

- For me, the biggest thing is that they weren't challenging or blocking shots around the goal earlier this season. They have no real rim protector like recent seasons with Cauley-Stein and those guys.

- The last few weeks; Lee, Poythress and Skal are getting better at protecting the rim. As a result, Kentucky has improved defensively as a team and aren't giving up those layups they were giving up earlier this season.

What Is Kentucky's Ceiling This Season?

- The way Kentucky has played the last few weeks, I think they are a legit Final Four contender. There are no dominant teams in college basketball this season and UK is certainly one of 15-16 teams with a chance to win it all.

- Coach Calipari always does an amazing job of having his teams playing their best basketball in late February and March. They are on that track again this season.

Tyndall's Score Prediction:

It's hard for me to go against some of these guys that I recruited, but I'll go with:

Kentucky 78 Tennessee 68

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