The Big Blue Lowdown

Insight, Analysis and Expertise on All Things Kentucky Basketball


UK and Their ‘3-D’ Men

The BBL knows that UK’s hopes of winning the National Championship are dependent upon consistent production from the three position.

DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, John Wall and Eric Bledsoe are a constant to combine for 55 to 60 points per game.

For Kentucky to continue to improve and have a legitimate shot at a natty title, it’s imperative that they get another 15 to 18 points every night from the “3-D” triumvirate of Darnell Dodson, Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins.

Right now Dodson and Liggins are playing good basketball.  Both are shooting as well from beyond the arc as anyone on UK’s team. Dodson is probably the best three-point shooter of the bunch, but he is also the streakiest. He has the potential to shoot UK in or out of a game.  But as we’ve mentioned before, he offers the ability of a stone cold offensive assassin.  Without a conscience, he will launch as soon as he has just an inch of daylight—and that’s all he needs with his quick, high release. We’d like to see Coach Cal start running at least four plays a game where he comes off a high ball screen and gets a look from behind the three-point line.  He’s good enough to shoot 45% or better with open looks.

Liggins, due to his newly acquired role of “defensive stopper,” isn’t as likely to pull the trigger from behind the arc, and he definitely doesn’t seek to create offense for himself. He is however a very good shooter once his feet are set and he’s in the confines of the flow of the offense. We think UK should run a couple of plays for him so he too can get two or three wide open looks from behind the arc. Due to his length, incredible quickness, hands and leaping ability, Liggins is becoming an excellent weak-side rebounder (evidenced by his nine boards against LSU). He should consistently be able to get a few garbage put backs from long rebounds and hustle.

Miller is the X-Factor here. He can shoot the ball well from behind the arc but only when in rhythm or after he makes his first shot. He’s one of those players that, if he misses his first shot from behind the arc, lets it affect his game so that he’ll miss every shot he takes from then on out. Because of this, we’d like to see Coach Cal run some plays to get him early opportunities close to the rim and off the weak-side post. He has a variety of moves when posting up, especially on the kinds of smaller guards who, due to UK’s great size, opposing teams are forced to match up with him.  It would be nice to see Darius start from the inside and them move out (more on this in a future BBL story).

In summary, we’d like to see the 3-D Men have scoring averages like this:

Dodson–8 pts
Liggins—6 pts
Miller—5 pts

Make no mistake about it. UK will only go as far in the tournament as their three position carries them. They will be zoned versus nearly every team they face in March, particularly in situations where opponents only have a couple of days to prepare.

All three need to combine to shoot 40% or higher from three point line. With UK’s other offensive weapons garnering so much attention, getting open looks shouldn’t be a problem, provided they come from within the flow of the offense and with good ball movement and rotation.

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Kentucky freshman Charles Matthews is transferring, the school announced. Former ESPN 100 prospect. - via @ESPN App…
1. This loss means nothing. UK lost a game on the road in bizarre circumstances vs a very good team. If anything,...
Time to put Texas A&M to bed and get tuned up for a high seed in the big dance.
Epic collapse by UK tonight. Still something not right with this team.
Tough loss over the weekend, but the Cats showed heart...they'll be back.

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