Well let me start by saying that I do not like the cream inside of Oreos. To that end I have stripped a dozen Oreos of their cream and will now enjoy them with an icy glass of 2%. It always goes down smooth. Let me also say that I do like to see wins at Rupp. It was obvious that folks at Rupp were looking for a win tonight after a frustrating loss at South Carolina to Tates Creek High School’s Darrin Horn coached Cocks. The crowd was energetic throughout, even though the game moved slowly due to the refs calling 57 fouls. Undoubtedly Kentucky will drop from the top spot when the new ballots come out, but this was a good win for UK as they were yet to beat a team that looks like a lock for the NCAA tourney. UConn, North Carolina and the Filthy Cards seem to be NIT bound at this point. Vandy is all but a lock for the tournament and though they will surely drop from the top 25, they will soon return as I fully expect Vandy to win 22 to 23 preconference tourney games this year and finish in the top half of the SEC East.
It was especially good to see LeBron, the best player in the world at the game tonight. Should LeBron leave the Cavs, and end up on a team with a lottery pick after this season, he could potentially end up playing with John Wall or DeMarcus Cousins. Maybe he was scouting future team mates. King James playing with either one of those guys would be a very dangerous combination for many years. Truthfully though, LeBron’s friendship with Coach Calipari has been well documented as he has made it clear that he wants his son to play for Cal. A pretty good endorsement, and especially good to have him there as it can only help recruiting. As LeBron never played in college, could we give him an honorary scholarship?
DeAndre Liggins played great tonight attacking the basket, getting fouled, making his only three point shot, pulling down four boards, getting two steals and no turnovers in 25 minutes of play. Liggins came in last year with a lot of hype, but we really are probably just now getting to know his game as his minutes were so up and down under Billy, and then he sat the first nine games this year. If today’s play was any indication, he is going to have a very successful career at UK and will be a key contributor in a deep March run this year.
Darnell Dodson started in Eric Bledsoe’s place this evening and did not disappoint. He played 18 quality minutes, scoring 16 points and pulling down 7 boards. He also made two key threes late in the game to shut down a couple of Vandy runs. Dodson is actually the fourth leading scorer on this team in per forty minute comparisons, and like Liggins will be important for Kentucky to make a deep run. I expect both of those guys to be starters before they leave UK.
Darius Miller played 8 forgettable scoreless minutes in which he committed 3 fouls. That makes me sad. I am concerned that he may soon lose his starting spot as his scoring in his last seven games has left something to be desired going for 0, 5, 9, 3, 18, 0, 0. He has also gone without an assist in three of his last seven games, and without a regbound in two of his last seven games. Miller is a more than capable player, but his production simply isn’t there of late. I hope he picks it up, as my wife loves him and thinks he’s cute, and when she’s not happy, nobody’s happy. The reality is that Dodson and Liggins are playing better at this point and it’s hard to keep them off the court in favor of Miller.
Eric Bledsoe played very well, as usual, and there is no word yet as to why he did not start other than it was a coach’s decision.
John Wall had another poor shooting performance going 4 for 12 following a 6 for 16 performance against South Carolina on Tuesday. He also had 9 assists, but brought 7 turnovers with him. That said, I am not at all worried about Wall. He is as talented as anyone in the college game, and as poorly as his shooting has been in five of his last six games, he is still a playmaker on both ends of the floor and he still shoots 48% from the field coming into this game.
Patrick Patterson got a career high 3 three pointers tonight going 3 for 4 to go along with 4 rebounds in thirty minutes before fouling out. Patterson faced some criticism this week (not here at the BBC) after his five point performance against South Carolina. Patterson took exception to that criticism and told fans not to question his heart or that of his team mates, and not to post such comments on his Facebook page. A fair request. I don’t want people doing that on my page either. I would like to see him inside more, but I can’t complain when he goes 3 for 4 from the three point line.
Newsflash, DeMarcus Cousins is becoming near unstoppable. I feel like he’s kind of like the Juggernaut. Once he builds momentum, he can’t be stopped. He went for 21 and 10 in only 24 minutes tonight giving him his 12th double double. What’s more amazing is that he has done that playing barely 20 minutes a game. He is averaging 30 and 18 in per forty minute numbers and is quickly playing himself into the number two spot in this year’s draft. At this point, I want to ask you, who is playing the best of any player on this team? It’s Cousins. Wall may be the most talented player on this team, but Boogie Nights is not far behind and certainly is a first team All American. Find me a center you would rather have on your team.
While the game was a little slow moving at times due to some overactive officiating, it was a good win and one the Cats can be proud of. This was probably the best team they have faced all year. Let’s look at how I did in my pregame analysis. Earlier I said:
Vandy is a guard heavy team: 47 of their 72 points came from their guards.
Vandy’s big man are severely outmatched. Vandy’s big men scored 23 and pulled down 16 rebounds, to UK’s 33 and 18 plus 4 blocks and 4 steals.
Expect Vandy to put up a lot of threes. They took 15. Not a whole lot really.
Expect Kentucky to win by at least 10. A 13 point victory. Not a bad call.