If it gets much better than today, I am not sure what it is. The Cats unloaded on ETSU to start the Tournament and the NCAA Tournament produced great game after great game on a day that may have been one of the best ever. Some quick thoughts on the UK game and the NCAA as a whole:
KENTUCKY 100 ETSU 71
— For the first half, the Cats produced their best offensive performance of the year, scoring 54 points in the most team-oriented fashion that we have seen yet this year. The Dribble-Drive Offense is primarily about breaking your man down and taking it to the basket, but tonight the Cats faced a zone that caused them to pass and primarily shoot from the outside, and they rose to the challenge. The half saw alley-oops, dunks after multiple passes and wide-open outside jumpers, all of which involved the entire team in the offense. It was a beautiful display of basketball and it put away the game early before ETSU had a chance to believe.
— The story of the night from an individual standpoint was the amazing shooting of Eric Bledsoe, who set the UK record for most postseason three pointers in a game with 8, breaking the mark set by his Coach Tony Delk. Bledsoe was totally in rhythm and knocked down everything that came his way. As he showed tonight, when he is hitting threes, UK is impossible to guard, which is why I still believe he is the key to UK’s ultimate postseason success.
— If I had told you that UK would play this well when Demarcus Cousins didnt score in the first half, would you have believed it? Maybe not, but for UK to have Wall and Boogie combine for 6 at halftime and UK still dominate as they did…well that is quite impressive.
— It was amazing to see just how few UK fans made the trip to the Big Easy for the game. It doesnt really surprise me as I expected a small crowd after I knew no one who was going, but it still is an odd situation. Probably the fewest UK fans to see a UK game in recent NCAA Tournament history. I know the coaches and UK folks were surprised, but they should understand. Lots of folks spent a lot of money in Nashville and many are planning to head to Syracuse. This was just a surprising middle stop that was far away, when a lot of us thought it would be in Milwaukee. Fluke circumstance.
— Cats will play Wake Forest who got a gift from a Texas choke job in Overtime. Wake has a tremendously quick point guard in Ish Smith, and one good big guy in Aminu. Patterson and Bledsoe will play key roles in the game.
— For my money, BYU vs Florida was the most entertaining game of the day from start to finish. Both teams shot the ball well and Jimmer Fredette is a revelation. Probably the best Florida has played all year.
— Old Dominion started the tradition of “small teams we saw on the road trip winning” by beating the Fighting Harangodys. They are very athletic, which makes them tough and different from most mid-majors.
— Villanova sucks and the fact that they are the #2 seed in Duke’s bracket is such a joke that I simply cannot think about it.
— Only in Kentucky was Murray State beating Vanderbilt not an upset. Great shot by the Danero kid and one that will live in NCAA lore. Plus it is always good to see Ogilvy lose.
— I dont want to think that Kansas State is good, but I believe that they are.
— I was pulling hard for Sam Houston State and the rec specs from my time seeing them at Rupp. Baylor is long and athletic, but they play without intelligence and Scott Drew looks like John Brady in Xs and Os at times. Interesting to see what, if anything, they do in this tournament.
— I didnt see one second of the St Marys win, but I hear they have a good big guy. If so, they might crush Villanova.
— Poor Derrick Caracter. Butler wins, which is good for Lexington native Shelvin Mack.
— My favorite player who does not play for UK is Ali Farokhmanesh of Northern Iowa. When we were in Cedar Falls, I interviewed the kid and he promised me that he would “hit one big shot in the NCAA Tournament.” Lo and behold, game tied and Ali nails a three to beat UNLV with 2 seconds left. Greatest moment of the day for me.
— Georgetown and the Big East were total frauds today. 9th best team in the MAC knocks out a Big East power. Tell Louisville fans to hush.
— Speaking of Big East letdowns, introduce me to Marquette. Team had a 15 point lead and I thought I was home free, but they gave it up quickly. We bet on 6 games today and went 5-1…the one loss was our Lock pick…oh well, thats why I dont live in Vegas.
— Kind of glad that Tennessee won. SEC was going to be hurting otherwise.
— Wake and Texas had a choke off and Texas choked last. Good for Kentucky I would think.
— Still dont know about New Mexico. Are they good or not? I tend to think no, but we will probably know more after their game with Washington
— Kansas is good. I will be pulling hard for Northern Iowa.
GREAT day and we will have much more tomorrow. Time to learn about Wake and get ready for another day of action.