At Steve Alford’s weekly press conference, the media jumped right in today with questions about Friday’s epic match up with Kentucky, which looks more like a Final Four game then a Sweet 16. Both teams are very good in transition, and it has been said that elite teams college can turn games like this into NBA caliber half court games. Alford noted that both teams are at their best when in transition and both teams play fast. Both teams have improved since December, but Kentucky has won their league and league championship (ahem...). Guards, bigs, benches, you name it, we match up well. However, Kentucky has won 13 in a row going in to this game, and they’ll be in an arena that will probably make this look like a Kentucky home game.
Alford said that Kentucky is more efficient and has evolved defensively and offensively, but are overall the same team they were during the regular season. UCLA has improved overall as well, and having Ike back after his injury in practice made a big difference in their game against Cincinnati.
De’Aaron Fox will be the engineer behind the Kentucky offense and will play opposite Lonzo Ball. This game looks to be an elite game of guards, as both teams play four to five at a time. Ike will be a presence around the rim, and even though he doesn’t play a ton of minutes, the time he gets is crucial and can be a real difference maker. While our freshman superstars get the hype, Ike’s impact cannot be underestimated.
Here is a full video of the press conference, courtesy of UCLA Athletics:
And here is Bryce Alford, Thomas Welsh, T.J. Leaf, and Lonzo Ball, courtesy of UCLA Athletics: