Fourteen seconds in, it was over. When Aaron Harrison’s three swished through the net, UCLA →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 20th, 2014 @ 7:00pm
Fourteen seconds in, it was over. When Aaron Harrison’s three swished through the net, UCLA really should have just packed up and gone home, because that’s as close as it ever was.
It’s hard to put what Kentucky did today–what Kentucky has done all season–into words. We knew Kentucky would win this game; it was a horrible matchup for UCLA, no matter what Doug Gottlieb said on the CBS pregame show. But what is so impressive is the manner in which UK is winning. The Cats aren’t just beating teams, they’re curb stomping them. In ancient Rome, people filled the Colosseum to see this kind of carnage. No matter what you pay for tickets to games this season–and the prices for next week’s game will be outrageous, I’m sure–it will never be enough. This is special. This is once in a lifetime.
Let’s go over every glorious detail of the 83-44 romp.
“I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a start to a game like this one.”
That’s what Greg Anthony said at the 12:16 mark when UCLA finally scored. UK sprinted out of the gate like Secretariat, jumping to a 24-0 lead before UCLA finally got a bucket. It was so bad that UK fans gave UCLA a pity cheer. The DJ at the United Center even played Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”
“They took our confidence out of us right at the beginning of the game and they put it to us from then on,” UCLA’s Bryce Alford said. His father was equally at a loss for words. “I haven’t been involved in many halves like that,” Steve Alford lamented. One of the few knocks on the Cats so far this season was their slow starts. Not today. “This game, the way we started, we haven’t always done that,” John Calipari said.
At halftime, UK led 41-7. In a game between two of the most storied programs in college basketball history, that is historic. UK had more blocks than UCLA had points. Karl Towns had more rebounds. Seven is the lowest halftime point total in UCLA history. It’s the fewest points Kentucky has given up in a half since 1943. As Greg Anthony said, UK overwhelmed UCLA physically, mentally, and emotionally.
What shooting woes?
Remember our shooting slump? Remember when the streak was in jeopardy? Yeah, me neither. A few weeks ago, Calipari said this team would be scary once it started hitting 8-10 threes a game. They hit 12 tonight, and everyone not in a blue and white shirt is terrified.
Devin Booker was especially hot, leading the team in scoring with 19, including five threes. Remember his shooting slump? It’s long gone. He shot his way out of it. So did Aaron Harrison, who is becoming king of the neutral site games. When Aaron hit the three to start the game, you knew he was on point, and he turned in 15 points this afternoon. The bigger the stage, the bigger the performance for Aaron.
Everything was clicking
The best part about UK’s domination? Everyone’s eating. So much they’re probably full. Ten players scored, and ten played significant minutes. If Calipari’s hammered one thing into our heads this season, it’s that the platoons are about balance. After the game, he thanked the players and their parents for buying in and sacrificing minutes for each other. “I’m not married to platoons, folks,” Cal said. “I’m doing this because it’s best thing for these players. Will I ever do this again? I doubt it.”
Everyone was clicking. The threes were falling. Willie was hitting mid-range jumpers. Marcus Lee made a free throw! Andrew Harrison has EIGHT assists. Dakari had six! The team had thirteen blocks. “I’ve got no schmoes,” Calipari said. Simple as that.
“I don’t know in my 20 years of coaching at the Division I level if I’ve coached against a better team.”
Those are strong words from Steve Alford, but can you blame him? The BBN has tried really hard to keep expectations in check after last season, but after performances like that, it’s impossible. Cal, who was swagging all over the place today, admitted as much after the game. “That’s our good game right there. That’s as good as we go,” Cal told Alford, who claimed he was probably just being nice.
While we all try to work up the courage to say the “un” word, others are doing it for us. “They continue to play at that level defensively, I’m a firm believer they’ve got a chance to run this thing out,” Alford said. “There’s not a weakness.”
This is the first team in Kentucky history to start the season with 12 straight wins by double digits. Cal said that this season is so much fun that he’s sending players texts about how excited he is about practice. “I’m staying in the moment. I’m enjoying this team.” We all are.
Enjoy this. It doesn’t happen often.
By Drew Franklin on ©December 20th, 2014 @ 6:11pm
Michael Wilbon had a front row seat for today’s beatdown in his hometown and he dished out some high praise for the Cats. The PTI host said he doesn’t remember seeing anything like what he saw in Kentucky today in the United Center. The tweet came early in the first half, so it got even worse from there.
Kentucky…My God….35 yrs of being Courtside at college basketball games and don't recall seeing anything quite like this…
— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) December 20, 2014
Meanwhile, Doug Gottlieb still believes UK is a good matchup for UCLA and it will be a tight game.
By Drew Franklin on ©December 20th, 2014 @ 5:59pm
Steve Alford has seen plenty of good basketball in his day but he can’t remember coming across a team as good as Kentucky. In his postgame press conference, one he handled surprisingly well given the circumstance, Alford said, “In my 24 years of coaching, this is the best team I’ve coached against. This team is really, really good.”
When asked if he’d like another stab at the Cats, Alford laughed and said, “Not right now.”
In related news, when you do a Google image search for ‘Steve Alford’, this comes up:
By Drew Franklin on ©December 20th, 2014 @ 5:30pm
By BrandonRamsey on ©December 20th, 2014 @ 2:00pm
Kentucky Basketball Scouting Report
Opponent: UCLA Date: 12/20/14
- Balanced scoring attack; all 5 starters average double-figures.
- Talented guards who can score and really shoot it from beyond the arc.
- Like to play pretty fast, will look to go in transition.
#20 G Bryce Alford: 6’3’’ 180 SO.
Bryce is a very aggressive, scoring point guard who can really shoot. He is pretty quick with the ball and does a good job of getting himself, and others, good shots. He is a very good 3-point shooter, shooting 37.5% on year from beyond the arc. Bryce leads the Bruins in scoring with 18 points per game. Outstanding free throw shooter.
#4 G Norman Powell: 6’4’’ 215 SR.
Powell is a strong, athletic guard with good size on the perimeter. He is shooting 46.7% from 3-point range but is also a great finisher inside as well. He is a versatile scorer and is good in transition. Averaging 17.4 points per game.
#10 G Isaac Hamilton: 6’4’’ 185 SO.
Hamilton is a great athlete and shoots it well from 3-point range. He is a very good offensive rebound so we have to box him out. Really likes the pull-up jumper when he doesn’t have a rhythm 3. Averaging 11.6 points per game.
#5 F Kevon Looney: 6’9’’ 220 FR.
Looney has had a great start to his freshman season for the Bruins. He is a big, strong forward with a lot of skill. He is averaging a double-double through their first 11 games with 13.9 points and 10.9 rebounds. Looney is one of the leading offensive rebounders in the country too, pulling down nearly 5 per game.
#23 F/C Tony Parker: 6’9’’ 260 JR.
He is a really good finisher around the hoop and uses his strength well down low. Parker is averaging 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He gets a lot of points off of either dump off passes or offensive rebounds, but he does have some back to the basket skill.
#22 G/F Noah Allen: 6’6’’ 215 SO.
Allen is an athletic, bigger guard who can swing between the guard and forward spots on the perimeter. He isn’t a very aggressive offensive player, but 14 of the 25 shots he has taken have come from beyond the arc. Versatile player on both ends of the court.
#40 C Thomas Welsh: 7’0’’ 245 FR.
Welsh is a skilled big man who has played a solid role off the bench for the Bruins so far. He obviously provides some added size and also gives a little scoring punch. We need to be physical with him in the post.
Keys to the Game
- Win the Battle of the Boards. UCLA has some strength and size down low, featuring one of the best freshman in the country in Kevon Looney. They are a good rebounding team, especially on the offensive glass, so we will need to ramp up our rebounding effort to keep them from getting second chances.
- Keep their guards off the 3-point line. All 3 of the starting Bruin guards are very good 3-point shooters capable of getting hot. They are an aggressive offensive team so it will be important to guard the ball well so we don’t create help situations that lead to open, rhythm 3’s.
- Be ready to play from the opening tip. Kentucky has started slow a number of times this season already, and this is the type of game where a good start is crucial. UCLA is a good team coming off of a tough loss so they will be very amped up and ready to get some revenge. Also, neutral site games can create a different sort of atmosphere for the players as well.
By Andrew Cassady on ©December 20th, 2014 @ 1:30pm
Got some time to kill before today’s game? How about some heartache to get your ready for a Bruin beatdown? Not many people reading this website were probably even thought of nearly 40 years ago in 1975. That season Kentucky went 26-4 to reach the national championship against a UCLA team that had scratched and clawed their way to make it. The Cats had beaten previously undefeated Bobby Knight and Indiana to advance in the tournament and appeared to be the favorite to win it all.
Unfortunately for the Cats they met John Wooden in the one place he couldn’t be beaten, the National Championship. UCLA won 92-85 and Coach Wooden retired from the game on top. Time for a blowout win to ease some of the sting from watching that trophy get taken away from an awesome Kentucky team
By Andrew Cassady on ©December 20th, 2014 @ 1:02pm
Things are getting chippy here in Bowling Green as an altercation erupted in the closing minutes of the first half. Montrezl Harrell threw a punch after being knocked down and was tossed from the game as a result. While nothing is official yet, it looks like Harrell will be sitting out Louisville’s game against Cal State Northridge on Tuesday night.
Stay classy cards.