I’m glad that game is out of the way. That seemed to be one big exhalation of all the pent up emotion from the North Carolina and Indiana games. The Cats burst out to an 18-2 lead and then took their foot off the gas. It wasn’t much fun to watch, but it will provide Cal with ample material in the two weeks leading up to the Louisville game.
– The topic on the mind of every UK fan is the play of Terrence Jones. He did injure his pinkie in the first half – Cal said it was a dislocation – and that severely limited him, but even before the injure it was evident that some of that Indiana funk was persisting. He just seemed sluggish. This team is talented enough to win without Jones, but he needs to get his head on straight sooner rather than later if this group wants to reach their potential come March. Jones went scoreless in 10 minutes of game time and in the past five halves, he only has four points and six rebounds. Something is wrong and it goes beyond a dislocated finger. Hopefully whatever it is gets taken care of soon. Jones is a good kid and you hate to see him struggle like this.
– In positive news, Anthony Davis was an absolute machine out there tonight. He finished with 14 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks. His growth as a rebounder and interior scorer has been exponential. The sky really is the limit for this guy and his play should have every NBA GM drooling. For the Louisville trolls out in full force tonight, you have no one who can stop him. What he will do to your team on December 31st will be criminal – not Greg Scruggs DUI criminal, but criminal nonetheless.
– Michael Kidd-Gilchrist continued to prove himself as Kentucky’s best all around player. His stat line of 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists was extremely impressive. He also went 2-3 from beyond the arc and 7-8 from the free throw line. Over the past three games, he has averaged a little over 17 points, nine rebounds and two assists. If he keeps this up, he will be the Kentucky player most often in the conversation for postseason accolades. Sign me up for the MKG fan club.
– Doron Lamb continued to solidify himself as Kentucky’s go to scorer. He finished with 24 and six rebounds and his floater seemed nearly unstoppable. He missed some open three point looks but his overall performance covered up for his few miscues. The offense seems to go as Doron goes. In the first half it seemed like he was the only one who was willing to put his head down and drive toward the basket. If Lamb can consistently lead this team in scoring like he did tonight, we’re gonna be alright.
– Marquis Teague’s turnover issues seem a thing of the past. He finished with eight assists and only one turnover tonight to go along with eleven points. The only knock on Teague’s performance tonight was the fact that he took too many dumb threes. It’s not just him though. The whole team settles for the three point shot too often. It’s hard to run the dribble drive without any dribbling or driving. Cal wasn’t excited about the 33 three pointers we shot as a team. Teague’s game isn’t from distance. I don’t know what Cal says to him at halftime, but against both Indiana and Chattanooga, he came out of the break looking for his drive more. That’s where he thrives. We don’t need Marquis to be Brandon Knight. We just need him to be Marquis Teague.
– Kyle Wiltjer took Cal’s comments after the Indiana game to heart and started to look for his own shot more. He might have looked for his own shot a bit too much, but it’s better to see that than to see him pass up on open threes. Wiltjer may be a star in time, but this season we need him to fill a specific role. If he can provide solid defense and three point baskets, he’ll be doing exactly what we need him to do.
– Speaking of Wiltjer, his White Boy Academy killed the spread. Really hope Polson can bounce back in the waning minutes of the Samford game. Twany Beckham also got three minutes at the end of the game. He didn’t do anything. We predicted as much.
– In non-game news, the renovated Rupp Arena designs were approved by the city. You can check them out here. It looks pretty cool.
– Chattanooga’s Drazen Zlovaric found some success inside with 15 and nine, but no one on the roster really stood out against the Cats. The team that was leading the Southern Conference statistically in every three point category was held to 8-27 from beyond the arc by UK – that’s only 30 percent. It wasn’t a top flight opponent, but it’s nice to see some good perimeter defense out of the Cats.
– The next game is Tuesday against Samford and it’s on ESPN2! Isn’t it nice not to have to look for links?