Inside UK Hoops with Jeff Sheppard

Starting this January, former Final Four MVP Jeff Sheppard gives his take on various things throughout the basketball program. With Wednesday's game having come and gone, Sheppard takes a look back at the Ole Miss game and the future.

Every week this season, Jeff Sheppard will give his special analysis before and after every Wildcat basketball game this winter.

Welcome to Inside Kentucky, we just wanted to thank you for coming aboard and look forward to your analysis, every week

Thanks for having me become apart of the Inside Kentucky family. You guys have really shown me a great passion for the University of Kentucky and have managed to bring forth a very Christian atmosphere in which I very much support. I thank you for this opportunity and a very glad to be working with each and every one of you. The future's bright and I am very glad to be able to bring forth my rare perspective.

First off, what are your overall thoughts about the team?

"I'm very optimistic and excited about the guys. Coach Smith has always had teams that really start to gain momentum in February and onto the Southeastern Conference tourney, so it really doesn't surprise me to see them come out a little slow. The big thing is they need to start growing together and I think they're right on schedule to do that."

What were your thoughts on the struggle against Ole Miss in Wednesday's thrilling victory?

"I thought it was an impressive win, it had an ugly start to the game and I think you could see the guys really struggling to get involved in the game early. Immediately, there were some big concerns, scoring only 16 points in the first half, but the way they came back to win is a big plus for the team."

What will the team take away from a game like Wednesday?

"The key will be to focus on winning the game. It was an awesome comeback and they need to dwell on that more so then anything. I know Coach will take it as a positive, more so then a negative. He'll break down the film and continue to look for improvement and correct the mistakes. This point in the season though, practice is maintaining conditioning and a time to start gelling and pulling together as a team."

Do you think Tubby had a little extra for the kids after the game?

"This is the part of the season, where suicides and running more sprints can be good, but more or less, might be a waste of time. These guys are playing 2 games a week now and are at the point now where they need to be consistent and go through the motions."

Do you have any feelings towards the Joe Crawford situation? Did anything like that ever happen to any team, where one kid was so unhappy?

"Everybody wants to play, so it's not uncommon for someone to be upset. Everything in this situation needs to be resolved internally though and that's hopefully the way that everyone will allow it be resolved. It's an unfortunate deal for it to go down the way it did, but knowing Coach Smith - he's always given second chances, I don't doubt he'll hold Joe close to his wing and move forward."

Should Kentucky fans have a concern over the struggles experienced from the set offense?

"There are times where they really click. You'll see 2-3 possessions a game where people are cutting and creating things for each other. It's just a matter of putting those 2/3 plays a game into execution. Everyone has breakdowns, but they need to limit them. When you have to go up against 5 guys, it's tough to score."

What should we look for in the next couple of months to correct the problem?

"Look for them to get a little more familiar with each other and become more productive offensively. I think the team is not scoring enough easy baskets. When I played, we scored a lot of points on transition baskets and points. They need to have more fast break points because it builds confidence and ups your shooting percentages. It will help solve a lot of problems."

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