UK Men's Basketball

Kentucky hopes to reverse its dwindling defense (and other takeaways)

Six takeaways from Kentucky’s interview session previewing Tuesday night’s game at Ole Miss:

1. After “some guys backed up defensively” at Tennessee, assistant coach Tony Barbee said the UK players must regain their defensive edge at Ole Miss.

2. In recent games, Kentucky has not forced as many turnovers as it had in previous games. Barbee said forcing turnovers and scoring in transition were keys to UK’s success.

3. Although freshman Ashton Hagans must defend the opponent’s key player (the point guard) every game, that’s no excuse for poor play. Hagans and other UK players will have to face tough opponents on a regular basis on the next level, Barbee said.

4. UK lost by 19 points at Tennessee. Ole Miss is coming off back-to-back losses inflicted by game-winning shots in the final seconds. The latter is much more difficult to rebound from, Immanuel Quickley said.

5. When asked what it looked like when the players watched video of their defense at Tennessee, Keldon Johnson said, “It was pretty bad.”

6. After the loss at Tennessee, John Calipari said Reid Travis would take part in on-court activities on Monday. When asked if Travis might play at Ole Miss, Barbee said that question should be asked of UK’s medical staff.

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Tuesday

No. 6 Kentucky at Mississippi

When: 9 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1

Records: Kentucky 24-5 (13-3 SEC), Mississippi 19-10 (9-7)

Series: Kentucky leads 106-13

Last meeting: Kentucky won 96-78 on Feb. 28, 2018, in Rupp Arena.

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Jerry Tipton has covered Kentucky basketball beginning with the 1981-82 season to the present. He is a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame.
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