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Kentucky, though far from perfect, was too much for Vanderbilt

uk-vandy

With only seven scholarship players on its roster, Vanderbilt needed a bad game from Kentucky if the Commodores were going to have any chance at all. Kentucky wasn’t at its best on Saturday, but still good enough to escape the haunted hallows of Memorial Gym with a 71-62 victory.

Let’s discuss it and then put it behind us before Kevin Stallings says something dumb. He’s the worst.

 

Andrew Harrison is your Wildcat Player of the Game.

It’s no surprise Andrew Harrison was named “Wildcat Player of the Game” after word got out he had an outstanding practice in Nashville on Friday. Kentucky’s freshman point guard said he made a point to go harder and be a leader in the pre-Vandy practice at Lipscomb University, which Calipari called his team’s best practice of the season, and that mentality carried over to the game.

Harrison finished with 10 points and four assists while tying a career-high in rebounds with eight. And maybe his most impressive stat: zero turnovers.

Coach Cal said, “Andrew did it all today.”

Alex Poythress roared again.

Poythress had another great game off the bench as that newfound confidence showed up in Nashville on Saturday, just down the road from his hometown. He was a huge factor in the second half, scoring all nine of his points in the final 12 minutes, and he made the effort plays we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from him this season.

The big dunk — ROAR! — with five minutes left in the game stretched the UK lead to 13 and should’ve been the dagger, but he was called for a technical foul (delay of game) for bouncing the ball toward the defender after the flush. Vandy scored five points on its next possession with the extra free throws to negate Poythress’ big play.

After the game Andrew Harrison spoke very highly of his teammate. He said, “Alex doesn’t know how good he is. Once he figures it out, he can be one of the best players in the country.”

“Alex Poythress, today? THAT’S the guy I recruited,” said Calipari.

Willie Cauley-Stein showed the NBA some things today.

Calipari also had great things to say about Willie Cauley-Stein, who helped his draft stock quite a bit in Memorial Gym on Saturday. Willie’s steal and fast break dunk will almost certainly make his NBA draft highlight video next summer — what a play from the big man.

It’s clear Willie has put in a lot of work on his offensive game since last season. That jump hook, almost unbearable to watch a year ago, is now a legitimate scoring option. He used it a couple times against Vandy to go 7-of-9 from the field for a team-high 15 points.

Derek Willis and Jarrod Polson got some clock thanks to Vanderbilt’s zone defense.

Willis played six meaningful minutes, a career-high, and got off a couple three-point tries while he was in. Calipari said he went with Willis when Vanderbilt showed zone because he needed another shooter out there, and Willis wasn’t hesitant to let ‘er rip.

cal-willis

That zone is also why we saw only five minutes out of Dominique Hawkins and more time from Jarrod Polson. It worked, too, because Polson knocked down two big threes in the first half. He played 14 minutes, scored six points, and earned Wilmore a shout-out on the television broadcast.

Julius Randle needs to get over these “cramps.”

Randle had another quiet game by his standards and spent time in the locker room, again, for those damn cramps. I don’t leave my couch so it’s tough for me to speak on the issue, but can’t we get the man some bananas and Gatorade? John Wall had the same problem during SEC play in 2010 so maybe those two should go out for dinner to talk about it. Maybe to a banana restaurant with unlimited Gatorade.

Julius did, however, dominate the boards in the first half, finishing with 11 in the game but three points shy of a double-double. He had 10 rebounds to Vanderbilt’s nine with four minutes left in the first half.

I’m not ready to discuss how good Kentucky looks without Randle in the game — not yet, at least.

You don’t have to shoot that every time, James.

Young, man, he likes to fire. His confidence beyond the arc is admirable, something all good shooters have, but sometimes it’s OK to keep the finger off the trigger. Young was 1-for-7 from downtown, many of those contested, and 2-for-10 from the field overall for six points.

He’s doing that falling-away thing again, too.

Greg Anthony didn’t study his game notes.

Dakari Jones? Willie McCauley-Stein?

Eh, close.

The oddsmakers in Vegas are incredible.

Kentucky opened as an 8-point favorite in Vegas and won the game, 71-62. John Short’s spread was 10 bigguns, just missing out on back-to-back covers.

Coach Cal called out Jerry Tipton for a dumb question.

In the postgame press conference, Tipton asked Jarrod Polson why he entered the game and Coach Cal interrupted, saying, “That is a pretty dumb question. That may be one of those ones, Jerry, that’s a Hall of Fame question out of you.”

Tipton responded, “They’re all Hall of Famers to me.”

Love it.

“We have the biggest upside of any team in the country.” 

Cal said, “I like my team, I like our progress. We have the biggest upside of any team in the country. We do. We’re the youngest team in the country. That’s what we are. And I just got to try to be patient, when I have none, but do what I can to try to keep these guys – and there’s a line between what you accept and building them up. You can’t start building them up if they’re doing things that are unacceptable. And that was about a month ago. It was all unacceptable. But everybody saw it. Now, they’re playing, they’re doing things that we want them to do, but every once and awhile they’ll break down. You know, you can deal with that.”

 

Go Cats, everybody.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

29 Comments for Kentucky, though far from perfect, was too much for Vanderbilt



  1. Doron
    7:40 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    Cramps? Randle need to quit cuffin and hit the gym lmfao



    • RichyP
      10:22 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

      He’s on #teamnosleep



    • BobbyP
      10:31 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

      Hey Julius, if you need any rest from your nighttime duties, I got you covered. I always have room for pretty ladies on the ole two-wheeler.



  2. Wildcat
    7:47 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    Why isn’t Marus Lee getting any playing time???



  3. bosshogg24
    7:53 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    With hundreds of doctors at UK, why can’t someone fix a leg cramp? Randle is costing himself millions of dollars by his performance!



  4. CATSCATSCATS
    8:05 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    Good win for these young Cats, don’t care about the quality of Vanderbilt’s team. A road win is a road win and they face a tough one on Tuesday. If they come out of Arkansas with a win, watch out SEC.



  5. bigblue091812
    8:06 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    LOSERVILLE -6 at home Thursday night, Duke -13 on road today, UNC -12 on road tody and Kentucky +9 on road today. Andrew and Aaron combined for 24 pts, 12 rebounds, 6 assist, 2 steals, 1 TO’s, 7-16 FG’s, 7-9 FT’s and 3-8 on 3 pts. Polson 2-3 3 pts. Alex 9 pts, 4 rebounds and 1 blocked shot. And then we had WCS, Young, Hawkins and Johnson and all played pretty good defense. Where the hell is all the trolls and haters, you know who you are, the trolls hasn’t had anythig to be giddy about since losing to Memphis. Tuesday will be tough but winable. GO CATS.



    • Nice!
      8:09 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

      Great post. Very good points!



    • Really?
      1:13 am January 12, 2014 Permalink

      What you’re failing to realize is we played a total scrub team that dismissed it’s best player. And it’s 2nd best player stayed in foul trouble and did virtually nothing. AND STILL WE STRUGGLED WITH THEM. You’re an idiot. You have no idea what is really happening.



    • Really?
      1:24 am January 12, 2014 Permalink

      Do you really think comparing us to this years UNC, Duke and U of L somehow matters? They are all barely top 20 teams. U of L is clearly overrated and their rating will drop. The rest of us are looking at the top teams in the country for comparison. You know, the one’s that will have 1 and 2 seeds?
      Time to wake up.



  6. hey
    8:13 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    Young settles for way too many 3’s. He needs to take his man off the dribble more. Hopefully we were conserving effort for what will be a tough game Tuesday. Defense today was sloppy.



    • Big Dave
      8:32 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

      Good observation on Mr. Young. He needs to take advantage of his 6-6 frame and cut harder to the basket when he doesn’t have the ball as well.



  7. Holler Baller
    8:21 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    Teddy Valentine please go away



  8. Beavis
    8:22 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    It was a extremely boring game. Still on shot 6-14 on FT’s in second half. Team is hard to “get into” this year



  9. Brian
    8:40 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    Magnesium for cramps not potassium. Someone buy him a $6 supplement from Kroger.



    • BlueBloodedRN
      3:08 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

      As well as calcium, sodium and potassium. Just drink some damn Gatorade.



  10. klassact32
    9:18 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    I would like to know about Marcus Lee as well, why he isn’t playing more?



  11. Ted Valentine
    9:32 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    I bet you enjoyed watching me do my thing today. Called that T so you would notice me. I’m on TV!!



  12. jack
    9:57 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    great effort against 7 players



    • BlueBloodedRN
      3:08 am January 13, 2014 Permalink

      Nice barely win against SMU tard



  13. Teachable Mo'
    9:57 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    UK doesn’t have as much upside as all that. That’s fantasy talk. They don’t shoot or pass very well.

    That could be a function of being freshmen, but lots of them are planning on bolting for the pros this year.



  14. carnifex
    1:03 am January 12, 2014 Permalink

    Mmmmm..…can’t decide if serious or trolling. So, the youngest team in the country goes to that s%#$hole of a gym for their only second away game, played their bench more than the coach has done here…ever, and coming off a big layoff, and you people are bitchin about it?

    Saw on the other site someone posted that no team has ever won a title just by out physicalling the other teams. I’m sure the 78 squad will be returning the trophy any day now.

    Why do you guys watch even? If it gives you so much anguiush.



    • Really?
      1:07 am January 12, 2014 Permalink

      We/They watch expecting a team to play to its potential. A Vandy team that dismissed it’s PG AND LEADING SCORER! THEN it’s 2nd best player stays in foul trouble and sits the bench AND STILL they stay in the game.
      The real question is what are you watching?



    • El hombre juan
      4:15 am January 12, 2014 Permalink

      I’m watching a bunch of freshmen who didn’t know jack coming in starting to come together as a team despite their struggles. It’s not pretty,but they’ll get there. I see no signs of the disappointment that was last year lol.



    • Truth
      9:20 am January 12, 2014 Permalink

      While it is sometimes difficult to watch, the positive moments are beginning to far outweight the negative moments. The team still odes a VERY bad job of closing out on three point shoters, but their overall individual defense is getting better. Offensively, they have really improved over the pre-break schedule. They are getting better. Tuesday may well be a loss, and that will sting, but if they get a hard fought win, then the growth could happen exponentially.



  15. musrat59
    4:17 am January 12, 2014 Permalink

    I kind of wonder if Randle had those cramp issues in high school. I would probably say he didn’t because he didn’t have to exert himself that much in high school. I have noticed that both times this year has been on a fairly warm day for this time of year.



  16. BravoBigBlue
    8:24 am January 12, 2014 Permalink

    Please stop with all the “NBA draft stock” talk. The players and the 10% of BBN that are complete idiots don’t need a daily helping of that nonsense. That was a big problem with last year’s team and this year’s team a well. If they will work to become the best college players and team they can be, their NBA future will take care of itself. Stop escalating the hype. It’s ridiculous. And Julius Randle is “playing” like he’s got “senioritis” and one foot out the door It’s no wonder this team has looked better without him in recent games. He needs to develop a game, and not just power and turnovers. Go Cats!



    • CatsRus
      12:35 pm January 12, 2014 Permalink

      Any road win is a good win. Struggling Julius and James allows some other guys to step forward.
      Part of Julius’ mechanics on O is catch the ball and hesitate for a second or so to size up the Defenders but at the College level he will be covered up. Simple things he didn’t have to do to dominate in HS like move without the ball and act with fluid motion. I think he has the tools plus.



  17. Red Rooster
    9:04 am January 12, 2014 Permalink

    Not ready to see team without Randle?

    See Louisville game. Pretty good.