Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Derek Willis: Getting Healthy
In an official medical diagnosis, Derek Willis' ankle was difficult to look at. It is unclear how long the forward will be out after suffering the injury against Texas A&M, but what we do know is Kentucky needs him back as soon as possible.
Willis was overlooked earlier in the season, but the Wildcats were a much-better team with him on the floor, thanks mostly to his ability to spread things out on offense with his outside shooting. He has made 43.9 percent of his shots from three-point range this year, and this team can't afford to lose this ability for too long.
Skal Labissiere: Rebound!
A potential NBA lottery pick who can block shots and hit a 10-foot jumper still can't see the floor, most recently losing minutes to Isaac Humphries. Why? Because Skal Labissiere has been embarrassing as a rebounder this year.
According to KenPom.com, the freshman has only brought in 12.2 percent of defensive rebounds this year, which ranks seventh on the team. Briscoe and Mychal Mulder do a better job of getting boards on that end of the court.
His lack of positioning, focus and intensity have been an issue, but all are correctable for him to be useful over the next few weeks.
Isaac Humphries: Post Defense
Humphries has seen an increase of playing time over the past few games, and it hasn't been just due to injuries. The reality is the freshman brings the type of size to the post that no one else on the roster possesses.
At 7'0", 260 pounds, Humphries won't get pushed around down low. He now needs to use this size to keep opponents out of the paint and help improve the overall frontcourt defense.
Charles Matthews: Energy
There hasn't been a lot of depth in the backcourt this season, but Charles Matthews has filled his role as a high-energy player off the bench who can give Murray or Briscoe some much-needed rest during games.
Although Matthews won't light up the scoreboard, he has been a good defender, keeping opponents from taking advantage of the second unit. His presence will be especially valuable with the short turnaround between games in the postseason.
Dominique Hawkins: Outside Shooting
With Willis on the sideline, Kentucky is left with few options from behind the arc. Murray is an elite shooter, but Ulis is inconsistent, and the rest of the lineup barely needs to be guarded from the outside. This could lead to packed in defenses and possibly a triangle-and-two zone that could limit the Wildcats offensively.
This means when Dominique Hawkins steps on the floor, he needs to step up as a shooter and keep defenses honest.
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