Cats take on Georgetown in final tune-up

When the Kentucky Wildcats and Georgetown Tigers tangle at Rupp Arena, playing for the first time since 1938, the teams will renew a college basketball rivalry that commenced more than a century ago. The Wildcats hope to be an improved rebounding squad, after focusing on that aspect of the game over the last week. Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith also plans to juggle the starting lineup for the contest.

When Tubby Smith's Kentucky Wildcats take the floor against Happy Osbourne's Georgetown Tigers the teams will be renewing a series that has been in mothballs since 1938. The Wildcats take a 35-15 lead into the exhibition game. "Georgetown and Kentucky have a long history of playing games. I am glad we could put them on the schedule and play this game," said UK's Smith.

Smith sees the game as a way for his team to continue developing, with the season opener looming. "This is a good opportunity to make the changes we need to make, not just in personnel, but also find out what has been working. There are a lot of things we need to improve on. Northern State did a good job of exposing some things and making our players execute on the defensive and offensive ends of the floor. This week we will be playing against a much more athletic team, probably a better outside shooting team, but this is an opportunity for us to make some adjustments before we play for real on Sunday."

The Cats are expecting the Tigers to show some fight. Junior forward Sheray Thomas said, "We need to come out and play hard because we know that Georgetown is going to come in and try to beat us. We need to try to improve on our game as much as possible. We know that they are going to try to give us a run for our money."

Coach Smith addressed two familiar problems, which reared their ugly heads in last week's exhibition against Northern State. The rebounding was poor and free throw shooting wasn't very charitable for the Cats last week.

Smith said, "Free-throw shooting is something that we are always going to be talking about until we shoot 100 percent. In the rebounding end of the game, we were so much bigger than Northern State. Tomorrow night there will be a lot more athletic players out there and we are going to have to do a better job of boxing out. I didn't think we communicated well as far as transition defense and that needs to improve."

According Thomas rebounding has been emphasized in practice. "We're spending a great amount of time on rebounding in practice. That's our No. 1 goal right now and we've also been working a lot on defense."

When Smith was asked about starting the same lineup against the Tigers, he said, "Probably not, I am just looking for different match-ups and different people. I am just not certain right now."

Does this mean that freshman Jared Carter will enter the starting lineup?

"He is a good player, but I think both Shargari (Alleyne) and Lukasz (Orbzut) are ahead of him right now," said Smith. "There are some areas Jared needs to work on, like knowing the plays, which is understandable since he is a freshman."

Could Rekalin Sims get his first start as a Wildcat? What does the junior college transfer think about a potential start? "If I do start or if I don't start, it doesn't really matter. I just want to go out there and contribute to help the team."

Perry playing more three

Junior forward Bobby Perry discussed his move from backing up Chuck Hayes at the four spot last season to playing more of the three position this season. "The three is wonderful, but it's an adjustment from being at the four. You just have to get on the block and turn your back to the basket more when you're playing the three."

What has Perry done over the summer and in the preseason to improve his game, and ready himself to play more of the three position this season? "I feel like, most importantly, that I have gotten stronger. My ball handling and my shooting have improved. I've just tried to work at getting better in my overall leadership on and off the court."

Morris injury update

Coach Smith said that Randolph Morris has returned to limited practice, after sitting out with a turf toe injury. "Randolph is back now and he looks a little out of shape. He has had to sit out for about two weeks. I am just not sure he is ready because of his foot. He has been able to practice but not much," said Smith.


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