When it comes to Kentucky basketball there are always opportunities to make comparisons. Teams, players and eras are often measured against one another for the sake of good debates. In this piece I wanted to compare two teams from the same era: the Cal era.
Which two teams, you ask?
We’ll look at how this year’s team compares to the 2009-10 team after 10 games, or roughly a quarter of the way through the season.
First let’s look at some of the other similarities between the two before we get to the focal point of the article.
Both teams got out the gate strong: the 2015-16 team is 9-1, the 2009-10 team was 10-0 at this juncture. Both teams also share a No. 4 ranking in the polls.
The 2009-10 wasn’t able to knock down shots consistently from behind the arc. We all remember the Elite Eight game against West Virginia. This year’s team is a tad cool from downtown as well.
Through 10 games both teams have attempted 163 3-point shots. John Wall and company connected on 61 of them, good for 37.4%. Tyler Ulis and this year’s squad have hit 45 three balls which comes to a 27.6 clip. Everyone knew that this year’s group hadn’t shot as well from the outside as most thought they would.
I didn’t think they were 9.8% percent less accurate than the 2009-10 team was through the same amount of games. There isn’t anything that can be done to change that now. I still think this year’s team has the potential to bring those numbers up though.
The 2009-10 squad finished the season shooting 33.1% from deep. Will this year’s Cats heat up from deep? Only time will tell. However, this year’s group has better overall shooters on the team. John Wall shot 32.4% from the three-point line in his one season at Kentucky, Tyler Ulis shot 42.8% last season. He is currently shooting 28.2%. Once the elbow is right you know those numbers will rise.
Eric Bledsoe connected on 38.2% of his threes, Jamal Murray is sitting at 33.3% right now. As his shot selection gets better he can boost his percentage some more.
The 2010 team was vastly superior on the interior which created cleaner looks for the perimeter players. Hopefully the same proves true this season with Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress continuing to play strong while Skal Labissiere continues his transition.
As always, it’s a process and this year there may even be a few more processes within the process but they’ll be fine when it’s all said and done.