Kentucky coach Tubby Smith knows his team's current seven-game winning streak doesn't guarantee success when Southeastern Conference play opens Saturday at Mississippi.
"Everything can be better. Everything has got to be better," Smith said. "We have got to do a better job screening. Certainly our free throw shooting -- and free throw attempts -- needs to improve. We can improve our rebounding.
"I also think we have to pass the ball better from all positions. We need to get our players all playing well at the same time. We look like at times we are coming together, but I would like to see our transition offense improve and also see the offensive flow become a little smoother."
He would also like to see junior guard Joe Crawford get to the free throw line more even though he has struggled in recent games with his shooting.
"He's a good shooter. That's not a problem," Smith said. "He's playing well. He's averaging the most minutes (per game) on the team. But I would like to see him get to the free throw line more. We've got to have our veteran players understand what they can do best to help our team. Joe usually draws a tough defensive assignment and is playing well defensively for us, but we need him to get to the line more in SEC play."
Center Randolph Morris, who has been UK's most consistent and best player all season, says the Cats are confident going into conference play.
"I think we are extremely confident, and we have every reason to be," Morris said. "The approach we take is go into the game, do what we have to do and get the win. The SEC is always difficult. That won't change this year. But if we just take a game to game approach, we will be fine."
Morris says he can't accurately compare how UK is playing now versus a year ago. "I just think we are better prepared for the SEC because we understand more about what we have to do. Everybody knows his role, which probably wasn't true last year. Everybody knows what he is supposed to do and that he does not have to do more than that," Morris said.
Still, UK will be heavily dependent on three freshmen again in SEC play and it will be the first time those players will face powerhouses like Florida, LSU and Alabama.
"I think they freshmen will play even better than they are now. As they continue to learn and gain more experience, the sky is the limit for their potential," Morris said. "If our only worry in SEC play is our freshmen, then we are really going to be in good shape."
Smith wants more improvement
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