Hoops Preview - Kentucky

The matchup most Washington fans have wanted for several months is finally happening Tuesday when the Huskies face off against Terrence Jones and the Kentucky Wildcats. Tipoff will be at 6:30 p.m. PST, and it will be aired live on ESPN and KJR 950 AM. Kentucky, who is currently 3-0, knocked out Oklahoma 76-64 in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

Kentucky has a team filled with blue-ribbon players from across the country. Out of all the star-studded players on their roster, the one player stepping up and leading the way for Kentucky is a familiar face to Washington fans - Terrence Jones. So far this season, Jones, the one-time Washington commit who chose to rescind his commitment and ultimately picked Kentucky and head coach John Calipari, is averaging 22 points, 10 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. He is shooting 54 percent from the field.

Jones, a 6-foot-9 freshman forward out of Portland, is unlike most players Washington has seen in the last few years. Not only does he have some ability to play down low, but he can step out and hit a jumper. However, his best attribute may be his athleticism, and more specifically his explosiveness. He should provide a formidable challenge for Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Darnell Gant, Justin Holiday, or whoever UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar decides is the best defensive matchup.

Although Jones is having the best season of any Wildcat player so far, Brandon Knight was considered the higher-rated commit in some circles. The 6-foot-3 Knight will be starting at the point; however he is more of a scorer than anything. He is averaging 17 points on 42 percent shooting, three rebounds and three steals a game. He has yet to tally a steal and averages 3.3 turnovers a game.

On the defensive end of the court, Darius Miller, a 6-foot-7 junior guard, has been a menace. He only averages 9.3 points a game, but is averaging seven rebounds, 2.3 steals and two blocks per contest.

Kentucky, under the guidance of Calipari, will generally feature a three-guard set throughout the game. The starting lineup should consist of Knight at the point, DeAndre Liggins at the two, Miller at the three, Jones at the four and Josh Harrellson at center. Harrellson, a 6-foot-10, 265-pound big, is the only senior on the Kentucky roster.

Just like the Huskies, Kentucky loves to get out and run the court, which should make for a fast-pace, high-scoring contest. The winner of this game will await the winner of the Michigan State-Connecticut game in the finals of the tournament on Wednesday at 7 p.m. PST, which will be aired live on ESPN. The loser will play for third place on Wednesday at 2 p.m. PST on ESPN 2.


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