Still dont think this UK team has a chance to be very good? Maybe you dont, but it is not every day that a team gives another team their worst home loss since last Saturday (of course before last Saturday it had been since 1915, but you get my point). The Cats hit on all cylinders tonight, showcasing what they can accomplish when they are hitting from the outside in the first half, and driving to the basket in the second half. The Cats continued showcasing their trademark defensive pressure, limiting South Carolina’s ability to do anything outside of the random Tre Kelly one-on-one move. Every shot was challenged, every pass contended and virtually every possession was a struggle for a Cocks team that is just one day or so from completely giving up (now is that any way for a Back-to-Back NIT Champ to react?).
As with any 38 point victory against a conference foe on the road, there was a lot to like about tonight’s performance. Standing out once again was Joe Crawford, who dominated the first half with three point bombs and drives to the basket that were reminsicent of the high school Joe that scouts fell in love with. Joe’s first four SEC games have seen 20, 23, 14 and 23 point performances, games that if consistent, make Kentucky a true contender. Randolph Morris got his usual double-double. Ramel Bradley was once again super Smooth, hitting from the outside and controlling the team on both the offensive and defensive end. Good performances came from Jodie Meeks and Perry Stevenson off the bench and all the players had something upon which they could hang their hats. And a shout goes out to Tubby Smith as well for basically keeping the game man-to-man and forcing the Gamecocks to rely on something other than three pointers to win…..a proposition they simply could not handle.
The haters are already out in full effect, saying that this is the “worst SEC team of all time” (someone forgot that dreadful Georgia team of a few years ago, that “this team hasnt proved anything” blah, blah, blah. You know what I say to those people…..find a new hobby. If you cant enjoy this win and see the positives than you simply either (a) have no idea about basketball or (b) are so negative that you should quit following UK basketball and join a Kamikaze brigade and just end it. In their first national television game for some time, the Cats not only won, they blew a team out…..something that simply doesnt happen a great deal on the road, especially by a Tubby Smith team. Just as the nation has started awakening to the fact that “UK may be underrated”, the Cats come in and put up an eye-opening win. That is a very, very important accomplishment. I know it is unlikely…..but if UK could stay undefeated (winning at Georgia and Tennessee), before the big game when Florida comes to Rupp (on Saturday night with College Gameday there and the Gators potentially number 1), it could be another MEGA EVENT at UK…..something this program could really use. Many of us thought that was a possibility way back when IU went down…..now it continues to creep closer to reality.
And in other news, the Oklahoma State-Texas game was a classic. But five things stood out for me….
(1) Sean Sutton may be the most bizarre coach in America. First he almosts passes out with anger (likely realizing that he never enacted his proper revenge on Shawn Kemp). Then he calls a timeout with his best player open for a layup under the basket. All of this while spending the entire game with what KSR contributor Mosley calls a “James Buchanan haircut” and a turkey neck that makes Frank Beamer blush. Odd dude…..
(2) Kevin Durant is real, real, real, real good. I mean really good.
(3) Someone has to help Oklahoma State find a television angle for its home games. Nowhere else in America are the two angles “back of fans’ heads” and Skycam. Pitiful.
(4) Someone actually had a kid….looked at its precious face….and then thought, I think I shall name him “James-on”
(5) When Woo leaves, his absurdity will likely be taken up by British Big Man Mike Williams (Myspace screen name: “BigBlackMember”). However if we wanted to lock that up and not take any chances, we really should have gotten the white guy with an afro on Texas….he is truly comedy gold.
Great game for the Cats……watch out world, here they come…..