By LARRY VAUGHT
Despite what some seem to believe, Radford will not be an easy opponent for Kentucky Sunday in Memorial Coliseum.
“We have a very difficult game coming up against Radford. They are on a real tear right now and have won seven in a row and are a very good team. We have struggled guarding people and Radford can really give us a lot of trouble. They have great post play and are really big and powerful,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said.
“So we have tried to work hard in practice this week and we will continue to do that over the next couple of days and try to get ready for a team that is playing really well right now. It will be a difficult game on Sunday.”
He said Radford is a talented team that could be in the NCAA Tournament.
“They are really talented. They have some size and some athleticism and some ability to disrupt you that is impressive. They play really hard and together and are well coached with great athletes. We will have to be sharp on Sunday. This is going to be a tough game,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell wants his team to improve on its mental sharpness and cites that as one reason for overtime losses to Louisville and Arizona State, both nationally ranked teams, in the last two weeks.
“If we can just play a little bit sharper we will be in good shape. The kids want to win and they try really hard, but we have not put it together defensively yet. So we just have to pay attention to the details and understand that we are going to be in close games and we are not going to blow people out, possessions are important and you cannot check out mentally,” Mitchell said. “We just had a really good practice in our last practice and just trying to emphasize the details that are necessary to play good basketball.”
Mitchell says his team has a top five strength of schedule in the country and the competition will remain just as difficult with Duke later this month and then the start of SEC play.
“They have done enough good things to have us in position, we just need to sharpen up a little bit and we can win enough games to be there at the end. That is the great thing about basketball, if you can do enough good things you have some time to continue to improve. I think we are in good position we just have to sharpen up the details,” Mitchell said Friday.
“I am really proud of how the team has performed and all the sacrifices that they have made for each other. When I say that we are not playing well together, there is a difference in having a bunch of selfish people that are out for themselves and just want to get personal accolades or gain. That is not our problem.
“Our problem is that we have a bunch of high achievers that work really hard that are trying to do their job so hard they don’t understand sometimes how they are affecting the team. It is not a selfishness problem, its more about getting more connected and they have the character that they will do it. I have said this many times, we have to do a great coaching job this year, we have to be sharp and efficient with our time and very clear and direct with the team and they will give us what we are asking for. I am excited to see how much progress we can make today and tomorrow and beat a really good Radford team.”