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Kentucky advances to the next round with win over Kansas State


randle-kstate

Nigel Johnson | US Presswire

One down.

The Cats defeated ninth-seeded Kansas State, 56-49, late Friday night in the the second round of the NCAA tournament. Kentucky showed some flaws and struggled to put the game away in the end, but in March, it’s all about surviving and advancing to the next round. And that they did.

Julius Randle led the way for UK with 19 points and 15 rebounds, his 21st career double-double of the season, while Aaron Harrison backed him up offensively with 18 of his own. Andrew Harrison was a little turnover prone at the point but he did dish out five assists and, luckily, still has a functional right arm.

Let’s run through some quick takeaways before we call it a night and move on to the next opponent, the 35-0 Shockers of Wichita State.

*****

First and foremost, Andrew Harrison is going to be OK.

It was all rainbows and butterflies in the final minute until Andrew Harrison ran to the Kentucky bench holding his right arm. A replay showed a a nasty bend at the elbow as he swiped at a Kansas State player attempting a late, meaningless bucket. Everyone in Big Blue Nation collectively held their breath, wondering if he was squinting from the pain or squinting because he’s Andrew Harrison.

In the locker room he told reporters it’s pretty sore but he believes he’ll be fine. “I think I hyperextended it,” he said.

Whew.

Willie Cauley-Stein is a game-changer when he’s on.

We learned in the comeback against Florida last Sunday just how important Willie Cauley-Stein is to this team. When he’s active defensively and protecting the rim, opposing teams struggle offensively. That was the case tonight as the big man blocked four shots and altered no telling how many more, forcing Kansas State to rely on jumpers from the perimeter instead of penetrating.

After the game Willie took ownership of his midseason slump, saying he briefly lost focus as leader of the team, a role he accepted at the beginning of the season. Now he’s back and it’s the difference in how the team plays, he says.

I don’t disagree. This team will go as far as Willie will take them. No team in the tournament has an answer for him when he is at his best.

And did you know he played wide receiver in high school??? I swear!

Dakari Johnson: 0 points, 1 rebound

We can live with it when Willie is beasting.

UK held Kansas State well below its season average.

The Wildcats, the purple ones, entered Friday night’s game having scored almost 70 points per contest on the year. With one minute and 14 seconds to go in the game against Kentucky, a free throw by Wesley Iwundu gave K-State its 41st point of the night.

Kentucky wasn’t a whole lot better offensively, though, posting a similar percentage from the field with 38% to State’s 35.8%. Kentucky also turned the ball over more with 15 to State’s 10.

Survive and advance.

Julius Randle now has the UK freshman record for double-doubles.

With his 19 points and 15 rebounds, Julius Randle surpassed Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins for most double-doubles by a freshman. Randle caught a little flak in the first half for a bad sequence or two, and at times the offense runs better with him on the pine, but the kid has 21 double-doubles in 35 career games. Yes, his spin is frustrating, and yes, those two three-pointers early in the game were hideous, but he finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds. That’s a man, people.

Boom.

Not a great night for James Young.

I blame the Wanda Sykes hairdo for Young’s cold shooting night in St. Louis. The freshman took a team-high 13 shot attempts and connected on only three of those, and made a few bonehead plays throughout the night. (That inexcusable offensive foul really stands out.)

Young said he didn’t have a lot of confidence in his shot tonight. He noticed he was leaning back, an old habit, and he couldn’t get it going. That’ll need to change by Sunday.

Watch the players discuss the game…

From our friends at Kentucky Wildcats TV, of course.

Up next: Wichita State

I’ve been on the Wichita State bandwagon all season and I won’t lie to you, friends: the Shockers terrify me. They need to be respected. Kentucky will certainly have its hands full Sunday and we’ll have to hear all about the 40-0 talk leading up to the game. This may be the storyline the NCAA looked forward to the most when it drew up the bracket, and now it’s here. Time to take down the one seed and move on to Indy for that game we won’t speak of yet.

Beat the Shockers.

Goodnight and Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

61 responses to “Kentucky advances to the next round with win over Kansas State”

  1. Rixter

    So, status quo continues… UK meets the # 1 team in the country to win the SEC tournament, then the undefeated # 2 team in the country to get to the Sweet 16.
    Louisville has to beat the likes of Houston and Uconn in the ACK tourney, then Manhattan and St louie in the big dance

    1. True

      Very true, however if we had taken care of business with the likes of South Carolina or Arkansas (at least once…) and maybe 1 out of 3 against Florida… Our road would have been a bit easier (at least on paper) as well.

    2. ukbradstith

      We had to beat lsu and Georgia to get to the sec finals, then play a pretty bad k state team. We lost 6 games in the crap fest sec, so let’s not keep acting like we are some kind of victim.

  2. Skeps

    SEC – 4-0

    1. Blake

      Also, I think all of our non-conference losses survived and advanced?

    2. Skeps

      You are correct.

  3. Blake

    Dakari is copying the unibrow!!

    1. Blake

      Ahh, my bad. It’s late.

  4. Syrin

    Dakari was immediately double teamed, and sometimes triple teamed every time he got the ball in the post. I was glad he didn’t force it, and he played surprisingly decent interior defense without fouling. Andrew had a poor game. 6 TO’s, several lazy defensive plays that led directly to lay ups and 2 fast breaks, poor shooting. I’ll cut him some slack because he has been one of the most improved players in the past 3 weeks, so hopefully it’s just first game nerves. Young had an off night in part because the refs are letting the game be beyond physical, not just this game but any game. Watch almost any replay, and guys driving to the goal are getting bumped left and right, and unless they get knocked to the ground, they don’t call a thing. It’s a 100% reversal from the start of the year.

  5. the realest

    If nine future nba players can’t beat a undefeated team that beats on cupcakes they all need to turn there jersey in

    1. Isaac in Louisville

      an*
      their*

    2. Hereugo

      ^^^Nerds shouldn’t be allowed on sport threads. Take your spelling bee and go watch jeopardy

    3. JHK

      How moronic is that comment ? Just because somebody can spell they’re a nerd and shouldn’t talk about sport ?

      That’s one way to make all sports fans look like idiots…

    4. ukbradstith

      How moronic is it that someone took the time to correct spelling at 2:30 in the morning?

    5. ukbradstith

      This game isn’t played in the future. Right now the shockers have better players, or at least equal, to us, and are a better team. We may have 6-7 players or more that may play in the nba, but again, the game is being played tomorrow, not 3 years from now.

    6. JHK

      It’s not moronic at all… Why dod people get so defensive about grammar ?

      If you make a wrong turn or forget to put your lights on people will point it to you and it’s perfectly fine. Correcting spelling is just the same. He made a mistake, someone just pointed it out… so he doesn’t make it again the next time around. Simple as that.

    7. Grammar Police

      * “dod” should be “do”

      * You need a comma before “and it’s perfectly fine” to complete your compound sentence.

    8. Blue

      Will there be a quiz after recess?

  6. Dwoos

    We are so much bigger. If we could shoot well it would be a blowout. We don’t shot well so expect it to be close. Wille blocks 4 shots and is active the whole game we win a close one.

  7. kingrex

    Just a question about the injury. Why is it we are not concerned about Andrew’s elbow? I seem to remember this being the kind of thing that can swell, hurt a lot and restrict movement for several days and even up to 3 weeks if it is severe. I am wondering if it can be more serious. Any thoughts? Thanks!

  8. el hombre juan

    Seriously, my comment is awaiting moderation? Oh but it’s ok to say half the sh*t these idiots post on here. Get sh*t together ksr.

    1. ukbradstith

      I’m pretty sure that happens randomly, I’ve had post say that from time to time, and mine haves aided that as soon as I post, so it’s not like someone read it that fast, and it’s happened on non-offensive post.

  9. Wes

    Let’s do to Wichita St what Marquette did to us in 2003.

  10. Bledsoe's Biceps

    Good to get that first win in the tourney, even if it wasn’t pretty. Glad to see the movement and screens continued with the offense. They at least had a lot fewer possessions of the perimeter passing motionless offense. If Cal had only implemented that “tweak” a few weeks ago, they would be clicking much better. It’s still rare for the twins & Young to feed the bigs, after a pick & roll. The ball still stays in their hands too long and results in a drive against 3 defenders or a soft looping pass that allows the defense to shift. WCS & Dakari get very few shots, other than put backs after they grab an offensive rebound.

    1. Cancer

      How is your wife doing, Bledsoes Biceps?

  11. michelle

    those interviews melted my heart. keep forgetting how young all these guys are! and soo much pressure on them!

  12. Jake

    I believe one of our best assets is our ability to switch on defense 1-5, and I believe it’s the unspoken key to winning against Wichita St. It’s hard to do much against a long team that plays a matchup zone and switches every time on defense, and I don’t think Wichita State has the length to solve that problem if we continue to do it effectively. Go Cats!

    1. Jake

      Also, Wichita State’s tallest player is 6’9″, so the gameplay shouldn’t change much from the Kansas State one, we just need to knock down our shots better. We have the talent and length to make Wichita State look silly if we play to our potential.

  13. RedRooster

    Don’t be deceived. The Shockers are much better than the BBN is talking.in fact I think they are playing better than the Gators. We will have to play our best game of the season to hang with them. It’s the best passing team in the dance, imo

    1. ukbradstith

      You are correct, they are vastly superior to Florida in every way actually, and have about the same talent.

    2. TD

      Trash talking about Wichita is ridiculous. They are a well-coached, together, Final Four caliber team, certainly a solid #1 seed. Reminds me of Cal’s Memphis teams being ridiculed for playing a weak schedule. Thinking this team is not worthy likely comes from someone with a low-basketball IQ.

  14. symphonist41169

    Hopefully Cal won’t be too stubborn to keep Witchita State guessing on offense by mixing up m2m with zone when we’re on D. Even with WCS at the rim and Randle grabbing rebounds we’ve gotta keep them guessing, off-balance, & uncomfortable when they’re on offense. Should be a great game, Cats by 3.

  15. Cycledelicbikes

    Honestly, I thought we looked like an 8 seed and Wichita State looked like a 1 seed. It will take a perfect game to beat them. I’m afraid our tournament is one and done.

    1. Wrong

      Hey genius, this will be our second game of the tourney, so 2 and done at the least.

  16. Rob

    We win the next one and we’ll be in the #1 seed position just like everyone expected at the beginning of the year. I couldn’t love this draw more.

  17. TJY

    They got a o of praise yesterday for beating a team, that up to 2 weeks ago, only had 11 wins. If we eat the glass like we did last night and stay focused on defense…I like our chances. In the end if we play well & they beat us…so be it. Go Big Blue!

  18. barn

    you think w st looked like a #1, against slo, a team with only 14w? go look at the box score from that game. one player in double figures & 57% fts. i wouldn’t say they really looked like a #1

    1. JHK

      They were up 30-8 after 8 minutes, up 25 at halftime and started playing reserves the entire second half.

      They were dominant and looked GREAT.

    2. Bradsd

      They did look good but the team they were playing did not deserve to be in the tourney, they were AWFUL!

  19. MadCatter

    BBN we all need to wake up. UK can beat WS but they are 39-1 in their last 40 games, went to final four last year with essentially the same team. If UK beats WS, it would be an upset, period. I like our chances but end result will either be close UK win OR blowout by WS. Length, inexperience and athleticism vs experience and consummate team. Those who talked 40-0 vs those with a legit chance. Be prepared to be nauseated over the endless storyline ramble on the one and done crap.

  20. Hendo Blue

    #6…it’s not gonna be a blowout no matter how good we may shoot. They are too good. Survive and advance is the name of the game.

  21. Shotskie

    This is a unique position for our Cats; playing from the underdog position, and I like it. I think our youngsters can better focus without having the pressure of the one seed strapped to their back. The Cats have nothing to loose they can go out, play hard and leave it on the court, if they loose they were supposed to, what 8 should ever beat a 1.

    How will the shockers deal with the hype of being the team with the pressure?

  22. Riggo

    Good chance we get curb stomped by this team.

    1. Shotskie

      Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.

  23. Bonkrshr

    Bbn
    Hate to tell you but a “sprain”, is a partial tear…
    Look at that pic… That elbow subluxed tearing ligament and capsule…
    He will hurt… Maybe will play but be in pain, and won’t be able to get full extension on his shot…
    This is a problem…
    Go UK medical staff!!!

    1. Shotskie

      It’s to early for excuses…Maybe that’s just the tweak he needed for the game of his life.

    2. Francisco Barrios

      Thank’s Doc. I woke up this morning coughing up blood. Do you think that is something I should be concerned about?

    3. ukbradstith

      That’s not an excuse. I’m not sold it’s more than a sprain, but I doubt he’ll be able to shoot. Again, not an excuse, just a fact.

  24. Dwoos

    20. If any team shoots well enough it can blowout the other team. That’s basketball

  25. cracka

    what was up with all the charges? I thought they were trying to cut out that undercutting bs

    shockers aren’t big either, hopefully they don’t play that crap d

  26. Sons of Anarchy

    I know K State is not as good a team as Manhattan (sense the sarcasm for all the Loserville trolls) but seriously. The Big 12 was considered one of the top confrences this year and go look at some of the teams they beat and the points they put up on teams like Kansas. Wichita St is undefeated for a reason, but like many have said…..who have they really beat. I think last night was more of first tourney game jitters than reverting back to early year UK. We will be fine Sunday and I think Cats will bring everything they have and possibly blow out WS. They better realize if they dont bring it its go home. They will have all week to rest for next weekend just survive.

    1. Sons of Anarchy

      And on a side note. That Randle dunk in the above pic, even though it would have delayed a late game even longer, I wish it would have shattered the glass. That was one of the more monsterous dunks I have seen in a while.

    2. It was almost as good

      As some of those dunks (including one last night) when Randall has been absolutely posterized.

  27. CPACAT

    Was just checking the time for the Univ of Dayton game today, and was amazed to see that it is at 7pm…that’s 53 hours after UD/OSU Thur game ended. UK game on Sunday is at 2:45…just about 38 hours after UK game ended. Isn’t it odd that there is such a huge disparity (15 hours) in the amount of time between games???

    1. JHK

      As long as there is no such disparity between UK and Wichita State it’s fine. Wichita State will get a couple hours more rest but it won’t change anything.

  28. TJY

    It is simple math. Last year the Cards beat the Shockers by 4 points, 72-68, but only beat UK by 3, 80-77. I think we all would agree that our team this year is better than last year’s team. We beat this year’s UofL team by 7 and their main losses are Siva and Giang. Everyone agrees this is the same shocker team with a year of experience. My guess is we are 10-12 points better than last year’s UK team which leads me to the OBVIOUS conclusion…we will beat Wichita State by 4 as well but in a defensive battle, final score UK 62, Wichita St 58. Go Big Blue!

    1. JHK

      Transitive property applied to basketball a year apart ? That’s just wrong on so many levels…

    2. Blue

      “Transitive property”. Wow that is deep. I’m really impressed.

  29. The Shocker

    Go shockers!!! Give Calipari the shocker– the good ole fashion two in da pink one in da stink!!

    1. Blue

      Hmm Cal is a guy so I don’t think that phrase applies here.

  30. bung

    pretty good write-up drew…