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Kentucky's Jarred Vanderbilt unlikely to play tournament opener

17 March 2018

The first one is out of the way. But as Calipari's teams often do, they are peaking at the right time as they head into the NCAA Tournament.

Davidson, which defeated Rhode Island in the Atlantic-10 Tournament title game to even make the tournament, went home on opening weekend, while the Rams advanced to the second round following a dramatic victory over Oklahoma Thursday. This was a game where you benefited greatly if you maximized line value.

"The way they played in the first half, we still needed to make a couple more shots, do some stuff, but I thought defensively, to play a team that's as efficient and execution team as Davidson, this young team did pretty good". The Wildcats ranked 344th out of 351 Division I teams in 3-pointers made per game this season.

The UNLV Rebels now take over the longest active streak, with 1,040 consecutive games with a made three.

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"I felt like we had a shot", Oats said. "We just shoot the shots that are open". They didn't fall tonight. Vanderbilt is averaging 6 points per game on 43 percent shooting. "We've built toward this moment all season, but I really don't know". Kentucky's three-point shooting was non-existent tonight. Buffalo coach Nate Oats created a game plan that would force Arizona to shoot 3s because the Wildcats aren't very good at it. "We contested their shots well". And then a Cincy team I don't buy at all, a Vols team they just beat ... or, at this rate, Loyola for a trip to the Final Four. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would hit five straight free throws and the Kentucky lead grew to 11 points. Instead, Calipari's squad relied on defense and rebounding to overcome the opposing Wildcats.

"I've seen Buffalo play a little bit. It feels like it's getting better".

But a 34-24 halftime lead disappeared in a second half that called for Kentucky to display how Hemingway defined courage: grace under pressure.

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United Kingdom would lead at the break, 34-24 shooting 54% while holding Davidson to just 29%.

Knox and Gilgeous-Alexander carried Kentucky in the second half.

"We wanted to get to the rim", Kentucky forward Hamidou Diallo said. "And it may have caused us the problem of sending them to the line as much as we did". An Oskar Michelsen three-pointer gave Davidson their last lead at 8-6. So imagine an entire team - one with Final Four ambitions, no less - going an entire game without making a single one.

Calipari wouldn't want to admit that, because he knows the Blue presence in Nashville would be an added advantage for his team.

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Kentucky's Jarred Vanderbilt unlikely to play tournament opener