UK basketball notes: Cats' schedule on light side

Davis blames free-throw follies on higher power

jtipton@herald-leader.comDecember 18, 2011 

After the program's first back-to-back one-point games since 1978-79, Kentucky began what appeared to be a breather in the schedule Saturday.

Chattanooga's Ratings Percentage Index of 330 (according to was the lowest of any Kentucky opponent this season. The second-worst belongs to Samford, which UK plays on Tuesday.

UK Coach John Calipari has made an issue of schedule strength. He has suggested that Kentucky might end a series with a traditional rival — Indiana, Louisville or North Carolina — as insurance against over-scheduling in the future.

While Calipari noted that other college basketball dynasties do not have as many as three non-conference rivals, Kentucky's strength of schedule rating of 43 going into the Chattanooga game was weaker than Duke (No. 3), Syracuse (10), UConn (16), Kansas (18), UCLA (31) and North Carolina (32).

Kentucky's schedule at this juncture was stronger than Ohio State (95), Louisville (129) and Indiana (187).

Among Southeastern Conference teams, Vanderbilt had played the toughest schedule so far. rated Vandy's schedule as the nation's toughest. Alabama's schedule ranked 15th toughest.

The final seven weeks of the regular-season figure to dramatically improve Kentucky's strength of schedule. During that time, the Cats play Alabama, Florida and Vanderbilt twice, a top 50 RPI opponent (Ole Miss) and at a currently ranked Mississippi State.

'Basketball gods'

Freshman Anthony Davis had made only seven of 16 free throws in the last four games. He dismissed questions about the inaccuracy.

"It's been surprising," he acknowledged.

But, Davis added, he had been making every free throw in recent practices.

"I'm just missing them,' he said of his inaccuracy in recent games. "I'm shooting them right. The basketball gods are not letting them go in."

Miller nears 1,000

Senior Darius Miller went into the game needing 69 points to become the 58th UK player to reach 1,000 in his career.

Miller neared the milestone despite poor shooting from three-point range. In the last three games, he had made only one of 10 shots from beyond the arc. His three-pointer shooting percentage for the season — 23.1 percent — was a career low.

Early arrivals

More than two hours before tipoff, Miller and Davis were on the court shooting and working with program staffers.

Miller regularly is the first player on the court. He typically works on low-post moves with the left and right hand, then goes to the perimeter.

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