*Personal Note: Normally, when I put together statistics for my posts I base a lot of the data off of the box score play-by-play summary from Ukathletics.com. Usually its really reliable, and minus a few random errors (minor things like spelling or addition problems), is pretty right statstically. That being said, I implore whoever recorded the play-by-play from Saturday’s Vandy game to put down the crack pipe. According to them, we had eight players on the court for atleast half the game, Patterson was substituted in for no one, and Cousins made multiple lay-ups while sitting on the bench. End rant.
It’s normal for sports writers to make outlandish picks or wild claims and then never be held accountable for their words. Rarely do you see a sports reporter go back to an earlier column and re-evalute their predictions or opinions , unless of course they were right.
Last week I wrote a blog about the three things that statisically stood out in the loss at South Carolina and, after two games under our belt since the Gamecocks, I thought it might be good to take a look at how the Cats have responded to the loss.
These were the three players that, to me, were the most dissappointing in the loss to South Carolina. They combined for 5 points, 2 assists, and 2 turnovers in the game and looked frankly lost. Since then, Dodson has been added to the starting line-up and added 16 and 14 points for the games. Most importantly, he has 8-13 three point shooting, making the defenses more honest in defending the perimeter and doing exactly what he was brought on this year to do.
Liggins has logged significant minutes in the last two game and had an especially productive first half against Vandy. While Miller has again been dissappointing, the success we’ve seen partially stems from the other two stepping their games up.
2. Missed shots
The Cats shot 44% from the field against Vandy and 50% against Ole Miss, upping their total from the season-low 34% they shot against South Carolina. More importantly, they improved on the nine missed lay-ups against USC, to just 3 each versus Vandy and Ole Miss. Both games they seemed much less lazy in finishing around the basket and they appeared to be more focused, even when they had big leads over their opponents.
Additionally, we’ve been able to get the ball to Patterson on a much more consistent basis. If you remember, in the success the Cats had earlier in the season against quality competition, Patterson wasn’t putting up huge numbers. But the 15 or so points he was adding to the game and his presence down low were making the difference for us and were completely absent during the loss. He’s taken twice as many shots and added 12 points in both of the wins since then, and is obviously being a more powerful presence on both ends of the court.
The team has had two better rebounding games, including completely destroying Vandy on the offensive boards (18-3) and Cousins absolutely dominating Ole Miss. Obviously, size in rebounding is something this team must take advantage of to keep winning.
I said that Calipari was notorious for getting his teams ready after losses, and both game we’ve played since then have looked much better, especially in these three aspects. Whatever headline the media wants to put on it, Boogie coming out or Wall having fun again or whatever, I’m just happy to see a return to the fundamentally sound basketball we saw earlier in the season. Let’s keep it up boys.