Science! Energy! Science! Energy! Maybe Powerthirst would have bulked up our thin frontcourt and kept Vandy’s frontcourt from pushing us around. They weren’t dominant, but the matchup issues caused problems all game long. Aussie BigBruce A. J. Oglivy played only 30 minutes, but Vandy Head Coach Kevin Stallings used 6′ 8″ Lance Goulbourne to great effectiveness on the inside. Goulbourne had 15 points off the bench (3-5 3FG) as Kentucky falls once again in Nashville, 77-64.
When Kentucky went small, Vandy kept working the ball inside. When Kentucky would switch, Vandy would find mismatches (like Liggins guarding Oglivy in the paint) for easy buckets. When Kentucky would collapse inside, Vandy found its 3-point range in the second half (4-6 3FG). When Kentucky would fight through screens and try to physically meet the Commodores, the refs would blow the whistle.
My assessment is that Kentucky deserved roughly 20 of the fouls called on them. Kentucky was pushing through screens, getting out of position and reaching, and was really often overplaying on defense. (Those 20 deserved fouls also include two of DeAndre Liggins’ offensive fouls.) 20 deserved fouls — so why did the refs call 29 fouls? I’m guessing that Coach Stallings fed them some Shockulate. TURBOFOULS!
So while Patrick Patterson might have brought the MENERGY Kentucky desperately needed, there’s no guarentee that the refs would have let Pat stay on the floor. Now that we’ve played one round each of “You Lose Because One Of Your Best Players Is Hurt”, I want to see these two teams thud against each other in the SECT. And I want Jared Carter to kick them with his ENERGY LEGS!
A few more notes from the House of the Bloody Nose — and you know Real Gimel would have had a bloody nose 8 minutes into the first half tonight:
* So, do you think that Vandy practiced defending against multiple screens to get Jodie Meeks loose for the last 4 days? I thought they did a fair job of defending in conjunction with a few poor screens set by the Wildcats. Jodie ended up with 26 points (6-21 FG, 4-11 3FG, 10-10 FT), 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 turnover and 0 steals. Jodie would have ended up with 30 if he was able to reign in the breakaway steals he attempted tonight.
* Michael Porter still has the “You Can Drive On Me and Take The Ball Away Easily” sign still attached to his jersey. Our equipment managers should have that removed.
* DeAndre Liggins, Yoda has a message for you: “Control, control, you must learn control!” When DeAndre plays within the offensive gameplan and really gives good effort on defense, as he did in the first half, the team really shines. (DeAndre knows that Oglivy is Austrailian for Cheapshots. Again, can’t wait to see Vandy in the SECT!)
* When Kevin Galloway drives, I get very excited. He has the ability to give our offense the depth it needs to be dangerous — the poor man’s lead guard, so to speak. Tonight it seemed like he was playing out of position due to our size disadvantage, and he dissapeared in the second half.
* In 12 minutes, AJ Stewart had 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers… and 5 fouls. Hands to yourself, AJ! Didn’t they teach you that in Kindergarten!
* I wasn’t disappointed when Jeannine turned to the publicly mild (yet secretly wild) Kevin Stallings for the halftime interview. Jimmy Dykes laid it all out for us, if you were listening. He said that in order to be worthy of playing time, Jeannine must ask, “Can I trust you? Can I trust your effort? Can I trust your memory, your execution and your talent?” Right now, Billy is benched until he can gain Jeannine’s trust back in practice. Fret not, Wildcat nation — remember starters are not important, but finishers.
I don’t know what else Billy could have done tonight. The Cats never looked completely out of comfort until the last 5 desperate minutes of the second half. The mismatch issues plus the refs couldn’t be defeated, even if Billy had 400 BABIES! Perhaps Billy should have talked to A-Rod’s cousin for some Tic-Tacs.