Home Uncategorized Q&A: Kentucky Kernal Sports Editor Hunter Shelton discusses Kansas vs Kentucky – The University Daily Kansan

Q&A: Kentucky Kernal Sports Editor Hunter Shelton discusses Kansas vs Kentucky – The University Daily Kansan

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Q&A: Kentucky Kernal Sports Editor Hunter Shelton discusses Kansas vs Kentucky – The University Daily Kansan

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Updated: January 30, 2022 @ 3:16 am
Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self reaches up to high-five a fan’s hand following the Jayhawks’ 94-91 win over Texas Tech.

Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self reaches up to high-five a fan’s hand following the Jayhawks’ 94-91 win over Texas Tech.
Kansas Sports Editor Nathan Swaffar met with Hunter Shelton, Sports Editor for the Kentucky Kernal, to discuss Saturday’s Big 12/SEC Challenge against the Kentucky Wildcats. 
Swaffar: Oscar Tshiebwe has been absolutely incredible this season, what will be the best way not only to slow him from scoring but to keep him off the glass where he’s been the most devastating? 
Shelton: “I don’t know that it is possible to keep him off the glass. Watching him rebounding this season has been truly, like, I’ve never enjoyed watching someone rebound a basketball so much. The balls that he’s able to get off the misses, that he’s able to collect for Kentucky you’re like, that’s really unprecedented. Stuff you don’t see a whole lot. If I’m Kansas, I’m trying to stifle him in any sort of way. He’s gotten in a little bit of foul trouble in the first half in a few games and Calipari is known for having the two foul rule in the first half or if you pick up that second personal, it doesn’t matter how long we got left in the half, you’re on the bench for the remainder of it. I would say attack him early.” 
Swaffar: What do you think Kentucky’s biggest weakness has been all season? 
Shelton: “Closing out games really. What’s happened a lot on the road this year is that they have kind of gotten complacent. Calipari said this the whole year too when it’s crunch time, Kentucky doesn’t know who to go to. It’s kind of been a by-committee thing. TyTy [Washington, freshman guard] has been super clutch when he’s been given the opportunity to. Oscar [Tschiebwe, junior forward] when he’s got it going on offensively, he can be that guy. But here lately his post-game has struggled a little bit. I think Kentucky needs to find who that guy is going to be.”
Swaffar: If TyTy Washington doesn’t play on Saturday or isn’t at 100%, how is Kentucky going to pick up the slack? 
Shelton: “He’s been the glue guy. While Oscar is the guy who puts up those dominant numbers, TyTy, he’s put up like such good numbers, but so quietly this year. He’s one of those guys where like, you watch him play and you think, ‘Oh, he had an OK game.’ Then you go and look at the box score and he has like 17 assists or he casually drops 23 points. But Kentucky is going to need, if Tyty is not 100%, Sahvir [Wheeler, junior guard] cannot turn the ball over as much as he has in a couple of those road games. Kellan Grady [graduate student guard] can not start out shooting 1-7 from three. He’s got to get going quicker…everything’s kind of been inconsistent outside of Tyty for Kentucky and the guard play. If it’s not Tyty, you got to get more production out of [graduate student guard Davion] Mintz and Grady.” 
Swaffar: How do you think Kentucky is going to handle the intense atmosphere of Allen Fieldhouse?
Shelton: “I don’t think they’re not going to be ready, but it’s also one of those things that it’s going to take a few minutes to adjust to. I was at Auburn on Saturday, and that place was crazy electric. That Auburn arena is like a 9000-person capacity, and that was a huge game for them becoming the number one team the day or, you know, Monday after. So, Cal mentioned after the A&M game, he wants his team to get accustomed to these road environments. He wants to hear boos. He wants these guys to really get acclimated to it and I think they definitely got a good dose of that on Saturday…These are two blue bloods who are going at it so Calipari is going to have them ready, but there’s always going to be that initial shock when you’re playing at a place like that.”
Swaffar: How do you think the game will go and what’s your score prediction? 
Shelton: “Obviously having TyTy 100% versus having him at all versus having him 50/50 is going to play a pretty decent chunk in it. As we’ve talked about a lot, Oscar getting going and doing his thing; him getting a double-double seems pretty inevitable. But how many of those rebounds are going to be in the offensive glass? How many points is he actually going to be able to rake in. Is [senior forward David] McCormack going to be able to step up? Can Kentucky limit [senior guard] Ochai Agbaji, in any facet? Can Kentucky do what they do best and try and limit Kansas in the best way possible? Kentucky needs a statement win, they need to figure out how to close a road game properly and this is a pretty big stage to do it. So I think their backs are going to be against the wall. I do agree that it’s likely going to be a high-scoring game. I think if they’re able to get Kellan Grady going and he really gets hot and he’s shooting the ball. Well, I think that’s what it’s going to be able to carry them over. So I’ll say 83-79 Kentucky.”
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