(Getty Images/Andy Lyons)
Kentucky cruised to a Sweet Sixteen birth tonight with a victory over the Iowa State Royce Whites. Kentucky was far and away the better team on the floor and proved that down the stretch. The length and athleticism was just too much for the Cyclones to handle and the Wildcats will roll on down to Catlanta for a revenge match with the Hoosiers. I have a feeling that will not be pretty.
– Marquis Teague was incredible, scoring 24 and dishing out seven assists, en route to an all-around flawless game at the point. He played close to; if not the best game he has had all year. A few untimely shots early only led him to finding a groove. If Teague is hitting his stride right now, that’s going to make this run that much easier for Kentucky.
– Doron Lamb battled foul trouble throughout game, but still managed to knock down a season-high FIVE three’s.
– Terrence Jones had the primary duty guarding Royce White, and to his credit that’s not an easy task for anyone. Things got a little chippy and a lot of off-ball pushing and shoving went uncalled. In the end Jones was the victor, but not before White put up 23. But it wasn’t nearly enough.
– To get an idea of how one-sided Iowa State is, Royce White was the Cyclones leader in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He could have been incredible in Coach Calipari’s system. But meh, who cares.
– One last thing on White: He could be the best big man, or at least the most diverse big man the Cats have seen all season. Tyler Zeller, Cody Zeller and Jon Henson are up there, but White went off.
– Michael Kidd-Gilchrist continues to be quiet on the offensive side of the ball with only four shot attempts. Kidd-Gilchrist tallied a mere two points tonight, but he did contribute with seven boards. Of course the Cats don’t need everyone scoring, but it seems like Kidd-Gilchrist is leaving a lot of points out on the floor. Don’t take it the wrong way: he’s the glue guy, bringing everyone together. MKG is a vital piece to this team, keep it up big guy.
– Anthony Davis played all 40 minutes of this one, and he made the most of it. 15 points and 12 rebounds against a team who denied him the lane any chance they had. It was a theme in the first half – isolate Davis away from the basket and force Kentucky to shoot a three. A common game plan to beat the Cats, but fortunately for Kentucky they were the hitting shots.
– And boy, oh boy. Were they hitting shots: 10-of-20 from deep was the Cats, compared to the “better shooting” Iowa State team, only 3-of-22. That’s a lot of point’s right there.
– Doron Lamb wasn’t the only hot hand from behind the arc, Darius Miller knocked down three deep balls; a great sign for Miller who had made only two of his last 14 attempts.
– The final score doesn’t quite reflect the huge margin Kentucky had, and how easily that could have been extended. Kentucky held a lead as large as 24 points, and visibly backed off to coast in the last five minutes of the game. Keep the throttle down and the 16-point win could have been 36.
– There was lots of buzz after the game at how great the crowd was at the Yum! Center, and how smoothly the games went. Hats off to not only Big Blue Nation for coming out and being loud, but also the arena staff for welcoming us in. Whether you’re a Louisville fan or not, Matt Jones said it well, the Yum! Center is the gold standard for basketball arenas.
Sup, Indiana? You want some?
– With the win, a rematch with the Indiana Hoosiers awaits in the Sweet Sixteen. They escaped a scare against Shaka Smart and the Virginia Commonwealth Rams, who had a shot at the buzzer to win the game. As much as I can’t wait for the Cats to pummel the Hoosiers, it would have been hilarious to see their season end on a buzzer beater.
– Coach Calipari has told us all about how the team sees the ESPN commercial replaying the Christian Watford shot. That’s all the motivation you need right there. How often does a team have a chance to enact payback on a team in the same season? This is an incredible opportunity for the Kentucky players, and I think every Indiana fan is terrified.
Two down, four to go. Hoosiers, you have no idea what’s coming.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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