GAMEDAY: Previewing Tennessee Tech

The 8th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats will try to remain unbeaten on Tuesday when they welcome Mike Sutton and Tennessee Tech to Rupp Arena.

No. 8/8 Kentucky Wildcats (3-0) vs. Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (1-2) Tuesday, Nov. 30 - 7 p.m. ET Rupp Arena - Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky coach Tubby Smith hopes his team can knock down some jumpers to complement its strong inside game.

The eighth-ranked Wildcats try to remain unbeaten on Tuesday when they welcome Tennessee Tech to Rupp Arena.

Kentucky (3-0) rode strong efforts from 6-6, 242-pound Chuck Hayes and 6-10, 266-pound Randolph Morris to an easy 77-59 win over Georgia State on Friday. By emphasizing the interior, the Wildcats had nine dunks and went 19-of-24 from the free-throw line.

However, Kentucky struggled from the outside and made just 2-of-15 3-pointers.

"Teams do certain things, and our focus or non-focus and not shooting the ball well can be contagious," Smith said. "Even though, looking at the 3-point shooting, we probably need to get in here and get more shots up, get more 3-point shot attempts. It's not like we don't practice it. We have the right people shooting threes, they just didn't go in."

Hayes scored 12 of Kentucky's first 15 points and made 7-of-10 shots, while Morris was 5-of-8 from the floor. The Wildcats finished with a commanding 46-16 edge in points in the paint.

"Since the last game, coach Smith has put an emphasis on us playing inside," Hayes said. "We wanted to get inside, to play inside out, and that's what we did."

Smith will be coaching against a pair of familiar faces. Tennessee Tech coach Mike Sutton, who broke into coaching with Smith at Virginia Commonwealth in the early 1980s, was his assistant at Kentucky from 1997-2002.

Sutton hired Saul Smith - Tubby's son - as an assistant in the offseason. Saul Smith, who played for Kentucky from 1998-2001, will be making his first trip to Rupp Arena as a visitor.

Last season, Kentucky posted a 108-81 win over Tennessee Tech to improve to 3-0 in the series. The Wildcats are 26-0 all-time against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference.

Tennessee Tech (1-2) has yet to defeat a Division I opponent. The Golden Eagles have suffered losses to Mississippi and Appalachian State sandwiched around a win over Virginia Intermont.

The Golden Eagles will be counting on a pair of players who transferred from high-profile programs. Willie Jenkins, who started his career at Massachusetts, averages 19.3 points and Derek Stribling, a Tennessee transfer, is second at 12.0 points per game.

Stribling has experience against Kentucky from his Southeastern Conference days at Tennessee, losing three of four games and both visits to Lexington.


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