It’s getting late so let’s get to some notes to wrap up a tough day in the land of Kentucky basketball…
—The SEC had another showcase day in basketball Saturday, or maybe they didn’t. Alabama lost by almost 20 to Purdue, Vanderbilt trailed at the half before coming back to beat Belmont, and Arkansas beat Troy by 15 though that doesn’t matter because Arkansas is terrible and Troy is worse. The SEC seems to be trying hard to become the major conference of least consequence, and if Florida lays another egg tomorrow it’ll officially be ugly.
—There were a few other top 25 games and matchups people around here might be interested in, so let’s run through them. Duke pulled away from Butler and beat them by 12, 82-70. Kyrie Irving continued to look good, dropping 21 on the Bulldogs as Duke wont their 4,715th consecutive non-conference home game. Memphis is beating Western Kentucky handily at last check and Illinois beat Gonzaga in the day’s other matchup of ranked teams. The possibility exists that Illinois has found a way to not suck in spite of being coached by Bruce Weber.
—It now seems pretty much assured that Kentucky will be going to Birmingham for their bowl trip this time around. While it doesn’t have the cachÃ© of some of the bowl games the Cats could have gone to had things gone a little differently, it does give them a chance to play on January 8th, so that’s something.
—There was limited NBA action on the UK front, but Jodie Meeks went off in Philadelphia. He racked up 26 points , exploding out of the gate to get 20 of them in the first quarter. He’s led the Sixers, who won big over Charlotte, and hit 7-of-10 from outside in his first start of the year.
–Don’t forget about UK Hoops’ Sunday showdown with Louisville’s ladies at The Bucket. The game is at 2:00, and if you can’t make it you can follow along with the live blog over at UK Athletics.
—And one more thing, we’ll shout out the state football champions that were crowned this weekend. Mayfield repped western Kentucky well, blasting Hazard 47-6 in the 1A title game. New Cath beat Owensboro Catholic 42-0 in 2A, Boyle County took down Allen County-Scotsville 21-14 in 4A, Highlands beat Christian County 50-0 in 5A and Central beat Belfry 46-7 in 3A. Lastly, Trinity is cruising to the 6A championship as we speak, leading 38-0 over Male. And that, my friends, is a list of non-competitive state title games.
—Finally, another word about the game. The loss still stings, but it’s not the end of the world and should be used as a huge learning experience for a team that will have to face similar challenges in other games this year. A young team sometimes has to learn lessons the hard way and hopefully this young team will take plenty away from the loss. Cal summed up the game pretty well when he talked after the game, saying
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ve got a young team. We didn’t have leadership on the court. There were a lot of things that were happening, but we had a chance to win on the road at North Carolina in this environment, so that made me feel good.”
And that’s pretty much the way it feels. It’s not as good as a glorious win, but can be a positive nonetheless and sure beats having Kemba Walker drop 100 on you.
That’s it for now. Beisner will be around to guide you through your Sunday, so be nice and he might let you open one of your Christmas presents early. Until then…