Most of the talk surrounding the UK/UofL game yesterday focused on the chippy play on both sides before and during the game. Many Louisville (and even some Kentucky) fans questioned as to whether or not DeMarcus Cousins should have been kicked out of the game for his forearm to the head of Jared Swopshire. And what became evident after the game is that getting into the heads of UK’s talented freshmen, Cousins in particular, was key to the UL gameplan.
As Matt alluded to earlier, this strategy will likely be employed again as conference and tournament play progresses. Will it work? In my opinion, it could. I applaud the way Boogie handled himself in yesterday’s game. He took the baiting and taunting and turned it into a dominant 18 and 18 performance. But does he have it in him to keep his cool every game? While I don’t agree with some assessments of him, (the Faux Hawk called him “unbalanced”, Edgar Sosa “a nutcase”, Goodman “unpredictable”) I don’t know that I could say with 100% certainty that Boogie won’t have a meltdown at some point during the season.
I can’t remember a player since Jamaal Magloire in the late 90’s that played with such an enforcer mentality. In fact, I think there were some UK teams that could have been pushed over the hump if they had a tough SOB like Cousins. While most people agree that Boogie is a wildcard, those people will also quickly add that the Cats are unlikely to make a deep March run without him.
As Parrish said, “The guy is capable of 20 and 15 in the Final Four against Kansas or of throwing a punch at Sherron Collins before the first media timeout.” So is this a concern, Cats fans? Could Cousins be just as capable of being our undoing as our savior? Does it even matter?
I will say this- I’ve seen a lot of progress and maturing since the first game of the season. The first few games Boogie appeared very immature and while that immaturity is still evident on occassion, UK fans must be happy with the progress he’s made thus far. Give him another couple of months of seasoning and I have no doubt he’ll play a major role when UK makes a run for the Final Four. What say you?
UPDATE FROM MATT: For the record, I think Demarcus Cousins is great. I find him to be amazingly likeable and entertaining. He gives the team an edge it needs and loves being a UK player. Cant beat it.