Against Georgia Tech and Utah, Kentucky will have to work on playing strong in the post and guarding 3-point shooters.
UK can use the on-floor classroom that Tech and Utah might be able to provide, if they can stay competitive in their respective games, because the Wildcats need improvement both in the post and against 3-point shooting.
Those areas need serious work, particularly since UK will meet Ohio State on Dec. 21 in Las Vegas, and Louisville will come to Rupp Arena on December 28.
Louisville is No. 1 now, but next week will probably be Ohio State's turn.
Despite its collapse offensively against Texas Tech, U of L is at its best when it is hitting 3-point shots. The Cardinals failed from 3 against Texas Tech, making just 3-18 for 16.7%. Those are the kind of numbers UK would like to see the Cardinals have from 3 when they meet in Rupp Arena on December 28.
It will take the kind of defensive effort for Kentucky all over the floor that Texas Tech. Louisville had season lows in points, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, field goals and 3-point makes against Texas Tech.
U of L had a season-high 19 turnovers and allowed Tech to get a season-high 17 points at the free-throw line.
Kentucky needs to improve on forcing mistakes defensively, but it has done well shooting free throws. UK is getting 25% of its points from the foul line, eighth-best in the country according to KenPom.
UK will have a chance to see if it can smother Michael Devoe, Georgia Tech's top scorer and the leading scorer in the ACC at midweek averaging 23.4 points a game. James Banks has also been good down low, but he can be hot and cold offensively. Moses Wright can put together double-doubles.
Georgia Tech and Utah will be decided underdogs in these games against the Wildcats. Both could go with the makeup of 'let's shoot as many 3s as possible and hope for the best.'
Going against Georgia Tech and Utah should give UK the chance to work on extending its defense, which will be vital against the Cardinals.
Both should give UK the chance to get better defending in the lane, blocking shots, and challenging offensively underneath. Those are key areas where UK could get exhausted by Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are physical inside and have a bonafide unstoppable player in the middle with Kaleb Wesson, a 6-foot-9, 270-pound junior, who is an early Player of the Year candidate.
Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery will definitely get the chance to see how much they've improved when they go up against Wesson and his veteran teammates.
There are a couple of on-floor classroom sessions that the Wildcats can use to prepare for Ohio State and Louisville. The first of those will come Saturday with Georgia Tech in Rupp Arena.