The Kentucky Wildcats have officially reached the slow part of this season’s schedule. They will have just about one game per week until SEC play starts in January. And their first opponent of this down period is Fairleigh Dickinson from Hackensack, New Jersey.
The Wildcats will be looking for their fifth straight win after dropping an early game to Evansville. In the last three outings, Kentucky has made strides in many areas. Their outside shooting has improved, EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards seem to be developing nicely, and aside from Nate Sestina’s broken wrist the team has healed up from early season injuries.
Sestina being out for the next few weeks should give more opportunities to Keion Brooks and Kahlil Whitney. Both of those guys have loads of potential, but need more experience playing against college-level competition.
Also out due to injury is Dontaie Allen, who started fully participating in practice this week, but he developed knee soreness and hasn’t practiced since then. He’s probably several more weeks away from making his debut.
Fairleigh Dickinson will be Kentucky’s first opponent in several games that has not faced any other of Kentucky’s opponents. It will also be the first team Kentucky has faced all season with a losing record.
The Knights’ only victories of the season have come in games against FDU-Florham and Quinnipiac, with the latter coming in a narrow, one point margin. The most notable losses on their schedule have been to Army, DePaul, and Notre Dame.
FDU is led in scoring by junior guard Xzavier Malone-Key, who is putting up 20.3 points per contest. However, he missed the team’s first four games. So it is a bit more difficult to predict how he can impact the game. Regardless, it seems like he has the makings of a guy (just look at that awesome name) that can have one of those huge Rupp Arena games out of nowhere.
The Knights do not take a top of three-pointers, but they do have three players shooting over 35% from deep. A bigger concern, though, could be their size. FDU has five players that are 6-7 or taller, including a 6-10 and a 6-11 guy. It will be a good test for Kentucky’s thin front court to keep the Knights off the glass.
It should be easy for many fans to make this mid-afternoon game on a Saturday, especially with tickets being available in the $20-$30 range. If you cannot make it out to Rupp, however, check out the viewing information below.