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Ohio State: A Really, Really, Ridiculously good version of Vanderbilt?

Remember what happened the last time you went up against a cat, Brutus?

The more I watch Ohio State, the more I’m reminded of a team Kentucky has already faced this season: Vanderbilt.

Let me start by saying that Vandy is infinitely inferior to Ohio State, I realize that. But, the matchups are pretty similar. Think about it: both teams have talented outside shooters (Jenkins for Vandy, Diebler/Buford for OSU) and strong big men (Ezeli for Vandy, Sullinger for OSU). Looking back, Kentucky struggled against Vanderbilt in Nashville, thanks to a career performance from Jenkins and poor defense from the Cats. In Lexington, Kentucky found a way to win, largely on the shoulders of Mr. Jorts Day himself, Josh Harrellson. For fun, let’s look at how Kentucky won that game and how that might help them against THE Ohio State University.

Vandy got Osh-Kosh-be-JOSHED!
To say that Jorts had a good game on Senior Night is a huge understatement. The man from Missouri had 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 big blocks, and he held his own vs. Festus Ezeli, who has proven to be one of the better big men in the SEC this season. Now, Sullinger probably makes Ezeli look like Eloy, but the fact that Jorts didn’t back down from a dominant big man is promising, as is his play thus far in the tournament. Plus, this is really the first time Sullinger has gone up against someone his own size, and if Jorts can hold his own against him, it will allow other defenders to guard the perimeter. Valuable relief minutes from Eloy will help (although I may need some relief minutes myself after watching Eloy go up against Sullinger…).

Valuable contributions from the veterans
Darius Miller created a major matchup problem for Vandy when they played the Cats in Lexington, and had a respectful twelve points to show for it. Brad Tinsley sure isn’t David Lighty or William Buford, but Miller’s contributions were one of the reasons the Cats pulled off that victory. Miller CANNOT disappear like did vs. West Virginia. If he does, we’re done. He will have his hands full with David Lighty, but could create a matchup problem on offense with his slightly bigger size and ability to attack off the dribble.

Improved perimeter defense
Good grief, if there’s something the Cats must do and do well on Friday night, it’s defend the perimeter. This has been an area in which the Cats have shined this season, thanks in large part to DeAndre Liggins’ manic defense, but the Buckeyes sport three major outside threats in Diebler, Lighty, and Buford. Vandy’s Jenkins gave the Cats fits in Nashville, but that was mainly because the Commodores constantly ran screens to free him up. Ohio State doesn’t really do that because both their shooters are athletic enough to get their own shots, but if the Cats can put the clamp on the Buckeye’s perimeter shooting, it will go a long way in helping our cause (here’s looking at you, Lamb). A bad shooting performance from Ohio State wouldn’t hurt either.

Make the free ones
Kentucky was 7-8 from the free throw line against Vandy. It goes without saying, but every free point counts, especially against a team like this.

And while you’re at it…
Time for Terrence to step up
I feel like I write that phrase for every game now. The most frustrating thing about Terrence Jones (here we go…) may be that if he played to his potential, he would be impossible to guard against just about anybody. Especially Ohio State. Who will Thad Matta put on him? Lauderdale? LOL. If Jones comes to play (IF IF IF), he could be the key to the game.

Run them into the ground
Ohio State may be talented. They may be athletic. But, they aren’t fast. Know who is? Kentucky. If Kentucky can create turnovers and fast break opportunities, they can control the tempo of the game, which is something very few teams have been able to do against the Buckeyes. Knight will be the key to the Cats taking control of the game.

What do you think the “X factor” will be on Friday night?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

48 responses to “Ohio State: A Really, Really, Ridiculously good version of Vanderbilt?”

  1. CatLitter


  2. J-Bone

    Ohio’s Mascot…if he’s in the greater Newark NJ area

  3. rich

    has to be TJ. Cal keeps saying it, he could be the best player in the country and we’ve seen games where he looks it

  4. bung

    Our most fast break opps will be from defensive rebounds if we hold our own on the boards as usual.

  5. john g


  6. Jorts the BWK

    Terrence Jones IN THE PAINT, not on the perimeter. He needs to score when guarded one on one or pass out of double teams for open looks (easy game, right?).

  7. Spencer_Smith10

    No doubt its Jones. Jones needs to come and play friday night!!

  8. Hi Everybody

    6. I agree. Against West Virginia the offense looked much better when TJ didn’t force a shot up while being double teamed..he played smart and kicked it out for open jumpers… I think he’ll have to score more then 12 points for us to win this game but as long as he plays smart we should be okay

  9. Boro Cat

    Jorts foul trouble. Sullinger vs. Eloy keeps me up at night.

  10. Big Blue Swagger

    Besides any particular player having his best night (we need that from all of them), the Cats need to stay with the game for the entire 40 minutes of clock. If they let up for more than a minute then we won’t win. They need to BRING IT like it’s not been brought before. From tip-off they need to be pumped up, hyped up, and en fuego. Maximum intensity– if we come out blazing particularly in first 5 minutes of each half, we’ll win this game; however, if it starts out with us finding our legs, we’re toast.

  11. Clean Coal

    x-factor = nobody…absolutely nobody for UK can suck on defense. If the TEAM defense is clicking and everyone is talking. We can’t rely on Terrence to suddenly start doing something he hasn’t done in months on offense. 15 and 10, that’s what we may have to bank on from TJ…..just hope he throws in 3 steals and 5 blocks on top of that.

  12. The Real Pioneer

    Can we hire the kid who beat up Brutus the Buckeye during the Ohio vs Ohio State game to come to this game and give Brutus another beatdown please?

  13. DonnyBaker

    I couldn’t disagree more with your assessment of the Vandy game in Lexington. If your definition of containing someone is limiting them to 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks, then I guess Jorts did a fantastic job. You may recall that in this game Cal’s strategy was to limit the touches on the perimeter for Jenkins, who went for 32 in the loss @ Vandy. We did that by holding him to 16 points, but leaving Festus to score at will, which he did.

  14. kyeric

    X factor? How’s about this…

    The name on the front of our godd@mn jerseys… It’s time to stop hoping OSU will screw up for us to have a chance to win and know that it is going to take a monumental effort from every single person on the court, on the bench and in the stands. We all know that it’s going to be a fight, but I am more than confident to take down the giant in this tournament with those guys in blue.

    Cal came to Kentucky to give us the chance to advance deep into this tourney and I am not going to sit back and hope against hope that something good comes out way. We need to go out there and TAKE IT.

    Put Kentucky Basketball back to a place where EVERYONE, even higher ranked teams are fearful to play us.


  15. bleedblue10

    15… if your post had a “like” button, I would’ve clicked it!

  16. mudcreekmark

    Everyone needs to block out the first of the year. “That” Terrence Jones is not walking through that door. I just hope he doesn’t try to prove that he is better than Sullinger. If he starts forcing up shots against these guys, we are toast. He is getting his shots blocked by nobodys do you really think he can take it to Sullinger?

  17. ebell55

    Double Doubles for Jones, Harrellson, and Miller! Knight goes for 25! Liggins Lamb and Knight lock down their guards and we waltz to the elite 8! Go CATS!

  18. BlueBloodToo

    The X factor WILL be the confidence of our Cats. If they come to play as a team and have the desire to win, they CAN win this game. The only thing we as fans can do about that is put our loud, crazy butts in the seats and boost their confidence.

  19. dykster

    100% agree about Jones. He hasn’t had a monster game in about forever. His time is now. He is THE key.

  20. BNasty25

    I want to be inside Ohio State

  21. BlueBloodToo

    Or, I could go at it this way….

    Team Defense. let’s stop “hoping” that OSU has an off night shooting and harass the piss out of them on defense. Make them earn EVERY SINGLE POINT. We have too many weapons in the offense to be shut out by them, so let’s just concentrate on taking them out of their offensive game and let everything else work itself out.

  22. BlueBloodToo

    In any way you spin this, it is going to take a TEAM effort to beat OSU. No one single player will have that much effect on the game. T-E-A-M EFFORT.

  23. UKhoopshysteria

    The CATS piss excellence!!!

  24. UKhoopshysteria

    Sorry meant pee. My bad. Terrence better be a “basketball Jones” in this one.

  25. UKChill Fan

    In 1992 the experts said UK would have to play a perfect game to beat duke. As it turned out, it took a perfect game for duke to win. We can win this game. However, if OSU’s center stomps on Vargas, we will have to insist that he be ejected (and then we guard the in bounds pass).

  26. Bob

    Has anybody explored the option of starting Vargas, and just having him take out (legsweep)Sullinger (or any other outstanding OSU player of your choosing)? Sure, Vargas gets ejected, but they lose Sullinger.

  27. Jtbolingbraa

    Heres an idea?? Dliggins needs to take a day of practice and teach everybody how to play some D. He looks ridiculous when hes throwing his arms around and going crazy but the thing is… It WORKS!! Anybody whose ever picked up a basketball knows it annoying as hell when somebody is in your face and you cant beat them off the bounce!! So lets go team D!! Get em rattled then blow em away with speed


  28. cant see comments till post

    Good post Ms. T.
    My guess at the X-factor-foul trouble for either team.

  29. Liggins Sez

    Will the REAL Terrance Jones please step forward…He has been dogging it a lot lately and not sure why, but his play will be as big a key as anyone if we are to move forward.

  30. TBone

    Hey! Great news everybody… I’m the 100,000th visitor!

  31. truth

    T- ogether
    E- veryone
    A- chieves
    M- ore


  32. SoCalCat

    Hope the sprained ankles for Jones, Lamb, and Liggins are all healed.

  33. droidCat

    Bottom line…I think we need the best shooting performance this season from everyone. 3 starters need 15 pnts each, and the other 2 need 20+ nights with 10 coming from the sixth man. Pull that off and we’re playing on Sunday.

  34. nba

    Let sullinger have his just as Festus….shut down the outside..

  35. ChrisinRichmond

    Hopefully, the game doesn’t come down to coaching because Cal is a dumpster fire in that regard.

  36. Odd Man Out!

    I’l have to agree…shut the outside down and let Sullinger go at it. He scores 20+…but outside OSU shoots less than 35%….limit the rebounds too, we win this game!! They can’t get offensive rebounds! Starters need to stay out of foul trouble too, even Josh as he might not have great defense to defend Sullinger, but he can rebound! So he needs to be in there!

    Honestly…if they play their game and we play ours, each using their talent, ability and potential, it’ll be one hell of a game!

    UK wins this though…WE ARE KENTUCKY and we don’t back down, hope for something to go wrong with OSU or worry about a #1 seed! We beat them and move on!

  37. lpool003

    I believe this game will eventually be determined on how well OSU plays defense on us and if they turn the ball over. UK can get out and run and rack up 15-20 points in a couple minutes, but we also go on long scoring droughts when the game slows. OSU likes to run too but scores consistantly when the game slows down a bit as well, which is what makes them so tough. If we go into lulls offensively, they are going to pull away and grind us out which may get us down to a point where we never come back. I think if we get 80-90 points in this game we will probably win (we average 76 on the season). If we can shut down the 3, I don’t see Sullinger going for 40-50 points, and that’s what they would need to get into the 80’s. So I think if we play solid perimiter defense and score consistantly without going into offensive droughts, win the turnover margin and at least keep it close on the boards, we win.

  38. Riddick-ulous

    Good lord who ISN’T the x-factor out of our main 6!? We need everyone to step up.

  39. Jim

    You forgot Lighty for OSU…he shoots 3s at .435% not much worse than Buford.

    Here’s 3pt shooting % for OSU guards/small forwards…

    Diebler – .500, Buford .444%, Lighty – .435%, Craft – .388%

    Here’s UK’s guys.

    Lamb – .469, Miller – .446, Liggins – .407%, Knight – .384%

    I say we put Miller on Diebler, Liggins on Buford (he’s really the only one who creates his own shot.), then Lamb on Lighty, Knight on Craft.

    Diebler is slow enough that Miller should be able to guard him well and Miller has enough size/athleticism to be able to drive on Diebler.

    Liggins has enough length to give Buford trouble and if Lamb shut down Sullinger last year he should be able to give Lighty fits as well.

    Thing is…this Ohio team starts 4 guards/forwards that can shoot the 3 — all the aforementioned players.

    So Jones will be key…can he come in and face up his man in the post while simultaneously shutting his guy down from behind the arc. I actually think we match up well with this OSU team well other than 3pt shooting. If we play strong perimeter defense, make them shoot jump shots. We can have a shot for sure.

    Surpringly we’re a better rebounding team than OSU, but I think that has something to do with the fact that they don’t miss their shots as much as we do…

  40. Jim

    I am hoping that OSU hit the wall against George Mason…kind of like we beat the tar out of East Tenn State and Wake Forest and then came out a little flat against Cornell and then really flat again against WVU. For Chrissake…they were 16/26 from 3 last week. How can you continue that? Regression to the mean….

    Or kind of like U of L destroyed Arizona in 2009 (103-64) and then tanked the next game against Michigan St. scoring only 52 pts and losing by 12.

    I’ve heard all that shit about wanting to beat the team when they play their best but if we play our best and they play their best…we lose…it’s that simple. If this UK team had been together for 2 years then I’d take us 6-7 out of 10.

    As it is…I’m giving us 3/10 chances. Would love to see Jones and Miller light it up.

  41. kingcat

    I realize that Ohio State doesn’t do a lot of pick and roll to free up there shooters, but after watching WVU game multiple times it would surprise me to see them pick and roll with Sullinger. The key to this game is Harrelson and on ball pressure.

  42. jsh2001

    Tinsley may not be Lighty or Buford, but I seem to remember a time in one of the games where Tinskey had like 4 straight layups. The lax defense that allowed that had better not show up on Friday or it will be a long night.

  43. Will B

    i think there are two x factors, a Denfensive and an Offensive

    Defensive= Jorts — SHUT DOWN SULLINGER
    Offensive= Terrence jones — the only unconsistent player on the offensive end as of late, if he gets big numbers and everyone else continues to play the way they have been… thats pretty scary…

  44. Will B


  45. uk1996

    I think a lot depends on how the game is called by the officials. Foul trouble could be a big problem for UK.

  46. Will B

    There are 2 x factors to this game, one on offense, one on defense

    Defensive- Jorts – Put an end to Sullinger
    Offensive- Jones – only player as of late in the main 6 (lately 7 if vargas has good minutes) that hasnt been consistent, he needs to put up great numbers for us to win

    In the end, UK wins, we always seem to step up when it matters most

  47. johnny lawrence

    #26, you have the right idea…put him in a body bag! what’s the matter Jared, mommy not here to dress ya?

  48. bleedblue10

    now that you mentioned it, why not start hood, polson, poole too, they dont ever play much, they could take out some people as well. Or start them and go with a completely different game plan than usual, just to throw OSU off and get their heads boggled, then throw in the starters to run them over