A Few Auburn Notes:
For those of you whose TV feed went out, trust me: last night’s game was not fun to watch at all. I’ve seen worse things, but not often. The first half was abysmal, and some washed up golfer lit us up so good that I think he surprised himself. What’s worse about that half is how worrisome it could be going forward. Auburn essentially handed a blueprint to other SEC teams on how to stagnate our offense, causing us to finish with a field goal percentage of juuuuuust over 40%, which was actually bolstered by a flurry at the end. While it wasn’t bad all around (turnovers, steals, and FT% were all pretty great), the Wildcats looked like they only really played seven or eight of the game’s forty minutes.
The most harrowing (new nickname idea for Ryan next year?) stat from the game, though, has got to be the rebounds. Honestly, we got out-rebounded by Auburn?! To be fair, the Tigers only beat us by four on the boards, but that was after a Herculean seven-minute stretch at the end to balance things out a little more. Even South Carolina out-rebounded us overall by five, and by ten (!) on offensive rebounds. That makes me nervous, but I wouldn’t completely freak out if I were you. Sometimes the rebounding column is just the victim of a particular style of play. A team that goes for blocks like Kentucky does is not going to rebound well defensively. Anthony Davis is not a strong defensive rebounder to begin with (too wiry to box out effectively), and with him, Jones, and MKG leaping to swat shots, it leaves guys in a bad position to go to the glass. But would you rather struggle rebounding (doesn’t mean you’ll always lose that stat, just means we won’t always be the best at it) and give up second chances, or try to intimidate shooters with a ridiculous number of blocks, and set records in the process? Either answer is valid, I think, but it’s clear that Cal (or maybe Davis) has put a priority on Option 2. Gambling for blocks instead of crashing the boards is a risk/reward scenario, and last night showcased just how risky it can be. It will be interesting to see how it works out going forward.
In other, more predictable news: the zone really bugged us for most of the game. Boy am I glad we don’t have Syracuse scheduled this year. At this point, I think they’re not only playing better, but are also exactly the type of team designed to beat us. The zone had a lot to do with both the poor FG% and the rebounding discrepancy (since zones leave defenders in great position to box out), and it needs to be figured out quickly for this team to succeed. Jones seemed to be the go-to guy to break Auburn’s zone defense by getting into the middle and making short runners, and that’s where he got most of his points. Good for him; that’s exactly what he needs to do. Now teach MKG and Davis and we’ll be well on our way. Additionally, Darius and Doron got hot at the end just enough to make Tony Barbee switch to a man defense, which we quickly punished. Continued good shooting by those two, mixed with Jones’ ability to get in the middle, is going to be the key to break opposing teams out of this mold.
Finally, to the UK fans at Auburn last night chanting “Go Big Blue” so loud it drowned out the boos of the remaining Tigers fans: Thank you. Honestly, I thought that was awesome. It was a tough, frustrating game to watch, but that made it just a little bit brighter.
PS – Marquis, if you’re gonna get called for a nutshot, make it a good one.
They warned me to stay away from the comments. They did. But I couldn’t help myself; I had to check them out. Internet threads have a stigma for being vicious, but my morbid curiosity turned up some interesting results, so I thought I’d take a minute to respond to a few. Enjoy.
russianblue: â€¨hate haikus, love Corey.
CN: Package deal. Sorry.
Tobias Funke: â€¨LOUISVILLE FIRST
CN: Go blue yourself.
Another Perspective: â€¨One would be inclined to think that a person who makes an issue of whether he is correctly using grammar would never end a sentence with a preposition. But that “one” would be wrong.
“… defense mechanism which I aim to rid you of.”
CN: I used the aphetic vernacular, which lends itself more closely to conversational grammar and informal writing. “One” didn’t know that?
Corey Nichols Agent: [G]reat idea recruiting your pals to post postive comments!
CN: Joke’s on you: I don’t have any friends. Now how do you explain it?
Here’s a good look on the right way, and wrong way, to make a point on a comment thread:
ForRealz: â€¨I’m not sure if anyone’s told you but parentheses are not required in every sentence (for realz)
CN: Periods are.
Eloy: â€¨I know that parenthesis allow for more jokes (especially self-depricating humor [and the classic ‘obvious carification to make the original joke funnier’ snide remark]) but humor doesn’t always require curvy punctuation.
Also it hurts my eyes and makes reading an interesting piece feel like riding in one of those jerky county fair rides with rust on every other bolt.
CN: Fair point. I usually try to be pretty judicial about when I use them; light, humorous paragraphs will get them, while serious, “take a look at this point I’m making” paragraphs don’t. I’ll keep that in mind, though, and try to tighten it up (as sometimes parentheses do take people out of the flow) ( … Like that one did. Totally unnecessary. And so is this one, explaining it. (#ishouldjustquitwhileimbehind)).
Monstermash: â€¨Amazing. Corey made it through a post without mentioning that freaking Ex-Florida QB.
CN: You mean Tim Tebow?
CDC_UKY: â€¨Great post and congrats on garnering praise from KSR folks…quite the feat. I do however disagree. Rick leaving for Boston was a bad decision but no reason to hate him. Rick taking the Louisville job shows he has no class or loyalty. He continues to expose himself over and over. I am glad I did not see this side of him until he was gone. Sad.
CN: To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Agree to disagree.” Also, “Where’d you get a hand grenade?”
KidCody: â€¨A redditor I presume?
CN: (â•¯°â–¡°ï¼‰â•¯ï¸µ â”»â”â”»
J mac: â€¨[Implying that I’m not a good writer] Where does KSR find some of these guys?
CN: Drew and I met at your mom’s house. Our appointments were right after one another.
P. S. Rogers: Do you have any interesting nicknames, Corey?
CN: “Herbie”. No, I won’t explain it.
FinnishStrongSays: [Referring to my comments regarding the D-ONE hats, saying “They were dumb.”] D-UMB would have worked better there at the end. Just saying.
CN: … You’re absolutely right. I’ll try to get it next time.
Al’s IndiCats: â€¨A very nice start of the day Cory. Keep it going!
CN: Aaahh… so close to spelling my name right. Thank you though; I just hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.
Don’t forget, UK Hoops plays Tennessee tonight at seven. Get your ticket, and go. I’m going, and I’d love for the place to be packed. Stay tuned for more today, including a preview of the men’s game in Knoxville on Saturday from our own Stuart “Velvet” Hammer.