"Eastern is a team that takes care of the ball pretty well, they're a team that executes. They'll make you sustain your defense for a longer period of time. If you're impatient, they'll burn you with back doors," Smith said. "If you get too aggressive, they'll do things that will force you to get out of defensive position. If you're not in the right spot defensively, they can burn you."
Under second-year coach Jeff Neubauer, Eastern comes into Saturday's noon contest at 8-3 overall and 2-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Eastern's strength lies in its guards. Sophomore guard Mike Rose leads Eastern at 15.8 points a game. He nailed a school-record tying seven three pointers in the Colonels' win over Tennessee-Martin on Dec. 20 and has hit 29-for-68 from 3-point range this season (42.6 percent).
"I've been very impressed with the way he's been shooting," Smith said. "He's a guy we've got to be concerned about. He looks like their go-to guy but, (others) are all solid players as well."
Senior Julian Mascoll is scoring 12 .8 points a game and Adam Leonard hits for 10.5 points a contest.
The Wildcats do admit the Colonels present a unique challenge, but said they have to just play their game.
"The guards are going to have to sit down and guard the ball and rebound the ball," Crawford said. "We're going to have to put a lot of pressure on them and make them take tough shots."
Junior guard Ramel Bradley, who is scoring 12.9 points a game, said Kentucky has to take the game to Eastern on both ends.
"I know we've got to get out and start out aggressive and we've got to play aggressive the whole game, run the floor and look for some easy shots," Bradley said.
"Jeff has been able to combine some Princeton style with that they do at West Virginia and it's been impressive," Smith said. "A lot of creative stuff they're doing with their offense. We'll have to be really focused and concentrating."
Crawford said Kentucky also has to guard against the aggressive Eastern defense. They like to deny the wing passes, and that's a problem we've been having all year, taking care of the ball," said Crawford, who scores 12.5 points a game . "For us, it's one of the things we're going to have to take care of to win the game."
"The big key is for our point guards, our freshman point guards like Derrick (Jasper) and Michael Porter to recognize what they're in and get us organized so we can attack their defense the proper way," Smith said.
SEC play begins Jan. 6
Kentucky has two games remaining before opening Southeastern Conference play at Mississippi on Jan. 6, Saturday and against Houston on Wednesday. And Smith said there is still plenty to work on before conference play starts.
"I thought we played well enough to win (against Massachusetts), but we just didn't finish the game the right way. There were a lot of things we didn't do right in that game, and these are the things we've been trying to get better that," Smith said. "We're still not attacking the basket, we've got to do a better job taking care of the ball and we've got to rebound the ball better. Because teams are killing us on the offensive rebounding end.
"Our opponents are getting too many offensive rebounds. If you're not closing out games you're not staying focused o each possession. That's something we've had trouble with."
But Smith likes what the Wildcats are getting better at.
"We're starting to understand and play together and move the ball. We've had a pretty tough schedule at the beginning of the season, and we've learned from tat. Now, its just a matter of retention and improve on these areas we need to improve on."
Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky
12 p.m. Saturday
Eastern Kentucky (8-3, 3-1 OVC)
Mike Rose, 6-3 Jr., G, 15.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg; Julian Macoll, 6-4 Sr. G, 12.8 ppg, 4.2 apg; Adam Leonard, 6-0 Fr., G, 10.5 ppg, 3.1 apg; Darnell Dialls, 6-8 Fr., F, 7.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg; Jamaal Douglas, 6-7 Jr., F, 8.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg.
Kentucky (9-3, 0-0 SEC)
Ramel Bradley, 6-2 Jr., G, 12.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg; Joe Crawford 6-5 Jr., G, 12.5 ppg ,4.1 rpg; Derrick Jasper, 6-5 Fr., G, 4.4 ppg, 3/5 apg; Randolph Morris, 6-11 Jr., C, 15.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg; Bobby Perry, 6-8 Jr., F, 7.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg.