Matthew Mitchell: Kentucky has to outhustle Washington

Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

Q. What is your biggest concern when you look at Washington for Friday’s game? What are the things you’re going to have to do really well in order to succeed?

KENTUCKY COACH MATTHEW MITCHELL: Well, you’re going to have to, I think, start on the defensive end. You’re going to have to be really, really tough. One thing that we tried to talk about for our team in this tournament, we wanted to be the team that it was visible that we were hustling more than our opponent. And you’re going to really have to outhustle Washington. They play very hard, they play very together.

I just think that you’ve got to lock in on defense and be in the right spot and be very disciplined and stay the course throughout the possession because they have a lot of weapons and everybody knows their role. They just run great, great offense.

I think our attitude is the most important thing. Our effort’s very important. Then our positioning and being in the right spot. Just having the discipline to combat their skill. They do a great job with shot fakes. They do a great job with driving angles. They get to the line a lot.

So we’re just going to have to play a really smart, tough, disciplined game. That’s not a great concern, but that’s the issue that you have. I mean, I believe we can do it, but that’s what’s facing you with Washington. So defensively I think that’s important.

Then offensively be patient enough and being tough enough to get to the line as well. They’ll try to force you into settling for some perimeter shots. And the teams that take a really large amount of threes against them don’t seem to do very well. We’ve got to have the patience and the toughness to try to attack their zone and really get the ball in the paint and be tough. Because one thing it looks like to me, they’re just saying you’re not getting anything easy in the paint around the basket. You’re going to have to make some perimeter shots. So you can’t fall into the trap of being impatient and taking a lot of quick shots. You’ve got to be tough.

So I guess to sum it up against them, you’re going to have to be tougher than them, and that’s something that I tell our players all the time. You’re in control of that. You have a choice to be the tougher team, and it’s a tall task to be tougher than Washington. They’re very, very tough.

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