The Sunday Leach Report

Tom Leachover 7 years

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Aritcle written by:Tom LeachTom Leach
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800"] (gamedayr.com)[/caption]   No coach believes more in the importance of defense as a key to postseason success than John Calipari and his team's numbers historically reflect that.  But Cal also frequently talks about how it's crucial to make open shots in March because you can't win with defense only when you pare the field down to the last few teams.  That's  never been more true for Kentucky than in this matchup today with Michigan. Arizona did beat Michigan back in mid-December when those Wildcats shot a lower percentage from the field than the Wolverines.  But the other 20 teams that failed to out-shoot UM this season all lost and so have 118 in the 125 games in the John Beilein era when Michigan shot a higher percentage from the field. In the preseason, Cal talked about how well his team was shooting the ball from the outside, heaping praise on Aaron Harrison and James Young.  And the Kentucky team we're seeing in tournament play is playing like that team the coach was talking about in September/October. Last Sunday against Wichita State, James Young followed up a subpar effort against Kansas State with a 13-point game against the Shockers, making two of the game's biggest shots (a late '3' in the first half and the go-ahead '3' late in the 2nd).  That kind of bounce back performance needs to happen today for Kentucky to advance. One way to make a team miss shots is to get into their legs but making them work hard on defense and that's what UK must do today.  Don't be surprised if you see a big dose of that 1-3-1 that UM coach John Beilein likes and if so, patience will be crucial for these young Wildcats. In that Arizona game I referenced earlier, Michigan gave up 17 offensive rebounds so that's an stat that can be big for UK in this matchup.  But whether it comes on the first shot attempt or the second or third of a possession, the Cats must put the ball in the hole.  Kentucky has won its share of "old school" games under Calipari in which it shot under 40 percent from the field but this won't be one of those games.   --listen to Tom each weekday morning at 9:06am eastern on "The Leach Report" radio network  --check out tomleachky.com for more of Tom's coverage of the Cats and follow Tom on Twitter @tomleachky and @leachreport + via Facebook for "The Leach Report"

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2021-09-25

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