After grad transfer Davion Mintz played well and freshman Devin Askew did not Tuesday night, Kentucky Coach John Calipari acknowledged that he might change his starting point guard..
Davion Mintz’s eight assists equaled a career high. He also had eight for Creighton against Marquette on Jan. 21, 2017. His 10 points marked a fourth straight game in double figures.
Meanwhile, Askew did not make a shot for a second straight game nor did he get credit for an assist in playing 17-plus minutes in UK’s 70-62 loss at Ole Miss.
Askew did not start the second half at Ole Miss, prompting a question about whether a change is in the offing.
“Maybe,” Calipari said. “We’ll see.”
After UK lost to Florida on Saturday, Calipari cited Askew’s “shaky” play as a factor.
“I love Devin,” Calipari said Tuesday night. “This kid works so hard and cares so much. But he’s learning.”
Askew reclassified, so he could be a high school senior, Calipari reminded reporters. Meanwhile, Mintz played in his 120th college game and increased his career minutes to 2,767.
“He wants to be that guy,” Calipari said of Mintz’ s willingness to be the point guard. The UK coach did note that Mintz passed up an open shot.
Calipari pointed out another benefit of Mintz playing the point.
“It gives a chance for Dontaie (Allen) to maybe come in now and be that other guard, too,” the UK coach said.
Allen played four seconds short of three minutes. He missed his only shot.
“(If) we’re missing shots, Dontaie is going to play,” Calipari said. “He missed one. I wish he had taken more. But they’re playing him not to give him shots. He needs to be in the game right now.”
As Ole Miss Coach Kermit Davis saw it, Kentucky will not be the only team looking at the SEC Tournament as a way to get a NCAA Tournament bid.
When asked what Ole Miss needed to secure a bid, Davis said, “With COVID, I just don’t know. We’ve just got to try to win. And I think the conference tournament is going to be huge. … I think we’re all in the same boat.
“But it’s good to be mentioned. Everybody’s playing for something. That’s fun. That’s what we’re all doing it for.”
The Ole Miss coach acknowledged that his team’s bid credentials could be questioned.
“We’ve probably got holes in our résumé just like everybody’s got holes in their résumés,” he said.
Fan attendance at the SEC Tournament will be limited to 20 percent of capacity (or about 3,400). The tournament will be played in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on March 10-14, the SEC said.
A “very limited” number of tickets will be allotted to each team for sale to its fan base. Only “mobile tickets” will be used. Using a phone’s web browser, all mobile tickets issued by a team or the league can be accessed at www.secsports.com/tickets.
Tickets bought through Ticketmaster can be accessed through www.ticketmaster.com or the Ticketmaster app.
Fans are encouraged to save their ticket to their mobile wallet prior to arriving for easier access into the arena.
Bridgestone Arena requires all patrons older than two to wear a cloth face mask that covers both the nose and mouth at all times. Gaiters, bandanas and coverings with exhalation valves or vents are prohibited, the SEC said.
The game’s late start — 9:10 p.m. EST — required some coaching attention, UK assistant coach Jai Lucas said Monday.
“It’s a big challenge because on game day for coaches and players, you have this kind of anxiety,” he said.
On the plus side, Kentucky had late-starting games against Kansas and the first game against Alabama.
But we’ve had some late games. … so, it’s something we’ll be ready for,” Lucas said.
One adjustment is to move pregame activities like a shootaround and meal to later in the day.
“On the front end, let them sleep in a little bit later,” Lucas said.
Now, for the kicker: It was the 10th game this season with a 9 p.m. EST starting time for Ole Miss.
Ole Miss has a 3-0 record against ranked opponents this season. That’s two victories over Missouri and one against Tennessee.
As of Tuesday, the Rebels were one of 10 teams that were undefeated against ranked opponents. The others were Gonzaga (4-0), Florida State (3-0), Houston (2-0), San Diego State (2-0), Southern Cal (2-0), Arizona (1-0), Colorado State (1-0), Dayton (1-0) and East Carolina (1-0).
Kentucky has lost five of six games against ranked opponents.