Utah coach scouts the Cats

One of the first things Giacoletti noted about the Cats is their depth, "When you haven't seen a team all year, just about anything you see is brand new," Giacoletti said.

Earlier in the week, Utah coach Ray Giacoletti had seemed almost indifferent to the fact that the Utes would be playing a Kentucky team that had historically owned them in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats were just another team on the schedule, the first year coach would say.

Things have changed it would appear. Giacoletti has seemed to have done his homework now as he prepares his team to play the biggest game of his young career at Utah.

One of the first things Giacoletti noted about the Cats is their depth, "When you haven't seen a team all year, just about anything you see is brand new," Giacoletti said. "But I didn't realize they were that deep. I didn't realize they started two freshmen. The Wildcats play a lot of players. No player averages as many as 30 minutes a game. That tells me that coach Tubby Smith has a lot of confidence in his bench and is not afraid to use the bench even in a tight game. That is something tough to prepare for because you are not sure who you should be preparing for."

But Giacoletti also noted two weaknesses in particular that Utah might exploit, "Kentucky shoots 66% from the field," he noted, "in a close game that could make a difference. As a team, we do not foul a great deal. We are among the leaders in the nation of teams with the fewest fouls. One option may be to put them on the line more."

Kentucky's outside shooting issues have also not escaped Giacoletti's attention. "They have struggled at times from the outside," he said, "and it's interesting that they shoot as many of them as they shoot. We have had a pretty good three point shooting defense throughout most of the season. Hopefully we can take away that part of their game."

Giacoletti has also expressed concern over Kentucky's transition game, "The Wildcats are very athletic, strong and quick," he said, "and they will have a lot of fresh bodies to throw at us. Their defense is 35th in the nation. Ours is seventh. We need to keep the game in the low 50's or low 60's."

And Giacoletti noted another concern, freshman Rajon Rondo, "Rondo broke the school record for steals. What does he have, over 80? Knowing where that guy is on the floor has to be a priority for our guys."

One thing for certain – if the Utah coach didn't really know much about the Cats this past weekend, he sure seems to be getting a handle on their play now.


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