Friday, March 29, 2013 - 2:43pm
Kentucky looks to create an up-tempo style
Updated Friday, March 29, 2013 - 5:34pm
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It's known in the Bluegrass State as '40 minutes of dread.'
Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell is in his 6th season in Lexington, and has implemented a style of play that could be described as a combination of a 100-yard dash and a marathon.
Even in the 15 minutes of practice the media was allowed to watch in preparation for Saturday's game against No. 6 seed Kentucky, the team did several drills that emphasized running and transition.
The goal? Wear down an opponent so you can dominate at the end of the game. According to Kentucky's Wooden Award finalist A'Dia Mathies "we've gotten into great shape. We're probably the fastest team in the country. We do a lot of running trapping, and hustling all over the court and that helps our press."
Coach Mitchell adds "what we always do is we try and make it very difficult for players to catch the basketball in a comfort zone."
It has worked this season, with the Wildcats sporting a school-record 29 victories, including an impressive 13-3 mark in the highly competitive SEC.
They hold seven victories over top 25 opposition: Louisville, Texas A&M (twice), South Carolina, Tennessee, and then Dayton in the NCAA 2nd round.
In their wake, they have frustrated opponents, with a plus-8.5 turnover margin, while forcing 24 turnovers a contest. Their season high steal total is 16, done in the opening round of the tournament against Navy.
This figures to mark another challenge for the Delaware guards, who have already faced strong pressure from both West Virginia and North Carolina during the opening two rounds of play.
So far Delaware has passed with flying colors, turning the ball over just 18 times total in the first two rounds.
Depending on whether Delaware chooses to go with a two or three guard lineup will determine the point guard, but it would figure that SEC-transfer Trumae Lucas (Florida) will have a lot of the responsibility of contending with Mathies.
The Wooden Award finalist is coming off her finest game as a Wildcat with 34 points against Dayton.
Delaware will need to come out with a better start, after trailing at halftime in three of their last five games, including both tournament battles. Otherwise, it could be a 'dread'ful afternoon in Bridgeport.
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