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Maryland - Kentucky Basketball Preview

Well now, no more excuses, no more pundits, no more hater opinions, it's time to play the game. I am always extremely nervous at the beginning of a UK B-Ball season and you know the answer why. Freshman, Freshman and Freshman. Season's past will not help us, those were our Freshmen then, not now and after all, a kid is still a kid.

Maryland's key to victory lies squarely on the shoulders of Alex Len. The 7-1 Ukrainian Sophomore has gained some much needed weight and with the transfer of Terrell Stoglin, 21 PPG last season, Len must pick up the slack. We will see how Cauley-Stein and Noel handle the match-up tonight.

Keys to the Game

If our big men shut Len down I cannot see how Maryland would make up the difference. But as always Maryland will treat this as their Super Bowl. So the energy will be pumping for Maryland. If they defeat the Number 3 team and defending National Champs it may earn Maryland an early spot in the Top 25 and provide them a very important victory when the NCAA Tourney Committee meets in the Spring. So Maryland actually has a lot riding on this game, not so much for Kentucky. The Cats are Maryland's only RPI TOP 60 non conference opponent. So you see why this game is important to Maryland.

The keys to victory for Kentucky are simple; shoot the ball good (+40%), rebound the ball (+5 to10 margin) and limit the turnovers. These three keys to victory are easier said than done considering our young and inexperienced squad.

This is not Midnight Madness, this is not an exhibition game at Rupp, this is a mega Hip-Hop rock show and the first College hoop moment at the Barclays Center, straight up Jay-Z, glitz and glamour. Not exactly the environment one would require for calm Freshman nerves. So with that being said expect UK to falter early, as they have in both exhibition games.

I do think UK will pull off a victory but would not be worried, or surprised, if they dropped this one. It would provide UK a little breathing room by dropping them to 8, 9 or maybe out of the top 10. And most importantly it is required to let Freshman be Freshman early in the season.

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