VAUGHT: Hobbs blunt about where this team is at

It was no surprise coach Hobbs was blunt in his assessment of Cincinnati, the team Kentucky has to beat Saturday to avoid having its season ended for the third straight season by a Conference USA team.

Kentucky assistant coach Dave Hobbs is not one to mince words when it comes to what it will take for the Wildcats to win.

So it was no surprise he was blunt in his assessment of Cincinnati, the team Kentucky has to beat Saturday to avoid having its season ended for the third straight season by a Conference USA team.

"If they shoot the ball like they did against Iowa today (47.4 percent overall, 50 percent from 3-point range), they are going to be tough to beat. They have not shot well at times this year, but they looked great today," Hobbs said. "They always go to the boards. We know that. They are real athletic, real long. They have good strength."

Hobbs says Jason Maxiell, who had 22 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots against Iowa, is a "man in there who just manhandles people."

Teammate Eric Hicks could be another physical matchup problem for the Wildcats. He had 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots.

"They are as physical, or more physical, than anybody we have played," Hobbs said. "They are leading the nation in field goal percentage, but when you can erase shots like they can, it really makes it hard to score on them. They are physical and they can really play."

Cincinnati is ranked No. 1 nationally in field goal percentage defense (37.1) and second in blocked shots (6.9). They were also third in their conference in rebounding margin.

"Our two big guys are ferocious on the boards. They know we are not the best shooters and they know they have to rebound. I think we have the best offensive rebounding team in the country," Cincinnati's James White said.

"If Kentucky has a problem with rebounding and physical players, then they are in for a game because those two are the strongest, most physical players you will see," Cincinnati's Erick Murray said.

Considering the problems the Cats have had on the boards -- they even got outrebounded by Eastern Kentucky -- that could lead to a horrible matchup for the sometimes way too timid Wildcats.

"Where we are today is that we either get in there and rebound or we get eliminated," Hobbs said. "We've got to have a better overall effort from everybody. If not, those two guys are going to punish us inside. They will just knock us around and go get every ball."


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