As I write this today, the Cats are the No. 1 team in the nation. At this point in the season, is it too early for this team to have the bullseye on their back? No one knows for sure, but here is what we do know so far.
• Defense. This team is the best shot blocking team in the nation. Davis (4.3 bpg) rightfully gets the pub, but Jones (2.2 bpg) and Kidd-Gilchrist (1.3 bpg) are intimidators as well. Overall, the Cats block 10 shots a night.
• Rebounding. The Cats are the 2nd best rebounding team in the nation (44 per game). Three players (Davis, Jones, Kidd-Gilchrist) grab 7 or more rebounds a game. The Cats have shown a team effort on the glass so far.
• Balanced scoring. At 84 points per game, the Cats are 13th in the Nation in scoring, yet no player is averaging more than 14 points a game. The Cats are unique in that on a given night, it is realistic to expect that any one of seven different players could lead the team in scoring during the game. All five starters average double figures and the sixth man, Darius Miller, chips in almost nine per game off the bench and has been a leading scorer already once this year.
• The Press: When Coach Cal uses it, it can be deadly. So far we have seen limited periods of its use, but when it is on, YouTube highlights are created. Only a few teams can come close to matching the Cats' length, speed and athleticism, and the press can only get better when a 6-5 athletic Twany Beckham joins the rotation in January.
• Shooting: Cats are 10th in the nation in overall FG% at 51%. The team shoots at a nice 41% clip from beyond the arc. The effective inside/outside combo is simply impossible for most teams to defend.
What needs work (even great teams can get better)
• Free Throw Shooting. Team shoots at a 68% clip and Davis’ 53% is not going to help in tight games with the amount of FT he could end up shooting.
• Turnover control. As Teague goes, so goes the team. Was his last game (8 assists, 0 turnovers) the turn of the corner?
• Playing a full 40 minutes. This team can go through lulls at times that may hurt during tough SEC road games. So far superior talent has compensated but the schedule gets tougher.