How to oil the cylinders of the Cat machine

Kentucky fans need to be patient as Tubby Smith looks to fill voids left by Randolph Morris, Chuck Hayes and Kelenna Azubuike; who comprised sixty percent of last season's starting five. A return by Morris would help the ailing post offense and rebounding. This would also allow Rekalin Sims to move back to his more customary position of power forward, where he is much more lethal offensively.

As in any year's edition of the Wildcats basketball team, there is much to like. You go into any season knowing that the team is going to win it's 20 plus games and represent well in the NCAA Tournament.

Tubby Smith coached teams often start slowly and build momentum as the year progress. The hallmark of his teams is defense. If you don't believe it, just ask the teams in the SEC.

He tinkers with the offense. Smith probes to see what are the best combinations on the floor, both offensively and defensively. While this process is taking place, sometimes the players especially freshmen get confused and confounded.

Tubby Smith and his staff have some exposures to deal with in this year's edition of the Cats, perhaps, more so in this edition than in recent editions.

Smith said that High Point University exposed some weaknesses in his team and it appears that North Carolina came in and enlarged those exposures. Question is from here how do the Wildcats produce an unexposed picture.

"We are not going to let teams just tramp on us," Rekalin Sims with great conviction said. ". We are not going to fall back. I'm not worried, we will be all right." That's the fighting spirit that can serve to be a building block for fans needing comfort. The Saturday defeat has caused a bit of unrest among the Wildcat faithful.

Speaking of Sims, he was a valuable pick from junior college by Tubby Smith. When the coach meshes the team and starts to get the production from the rest of the team, Sims could prove to be very valuable. As Sims has alluded to, he feels more comfortable at the four spot than trying to play the five spot.

How does Smith fix the non-productive five-spot? The speedy return of Randolph Morris from his hiatus would be a start. If by some chance that doesn't happen, Smith needs to fast forward the development of 7-foot-2 freshmen, Jared Carter. It's relatively easy to project Carter in the long haul, however, his services are sorely need now!

One facet of the game that salves some ills in close games is free throw shooting. Smith has been working feverishly to improve the free throw shooting on his team. His team's free throw shooting seems to coincide with the sense of urgency of the team. They shoot them exponentially better in the second half.

Coach Smith has for most of the season expressed some chagrin about weak rebounding although the first time they were out rebounded was in the loss to North Carolina. On one occasion in the UNC game, Smith witnessed Shagari Alleyne get pushed out of bounds in a rebounding battle. He said he couldn't stand to watch it and quickly got the hook out for Alleyne.

With loss of last years physical presences of Chuck Hayes and Kelenna Azubuike, there's and obvious void that needs to be filled on the team.

The good thing about basketball as opposed to football is they get to play again sooner to get a win and we know that winning cures a bevy of ills.

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