It is a late night here at the Kentucky Sports Radio Compound, thanks to a late ESPN game in Rupp Arena and a rather uninspiring victory by the Cats over Georgia, 61-55. For about eight minutes in the first half, Kentucky looked like a team that could contend for a national championship, scoring on every possession in which Mark Coury did not miss a layup and looking like a sleeping juggernaut ready to burst out on the scene. However the next 32 minutes looked much less inspiring and at times, such as in the last seven minutes when the Cats outscored Georgia a resounding 6-3, downright awful. But a win in a win, and with five games to go and the Cats trying to crawl into the tournament, every win counts. If you saw the game, then you know there is very little to focus on long term, so here are the top 10 postgame notes….
(1) Billy Gillispie was disappointed in the postgame news conference with the performance of his team and the way they “handled prosperity” after their early success in the game. He thought the team made some “pre-December” decisions late in the game and lost their focus. Nevertheless he said he was happy with how they played defensively for the last seven minutes, but said that it was imperative that they have a “sense of urgency” on offense that was severely lacking tonight.
(2) Another great game for Patrick Patterson, who had 20 points and 9 rebounds on 8-15 shooting. After the game Gillispie said that “the battle on the boards was a man’s game and Patrick was the best man.” He looked the part throughout and you could sense a feeling of calm every time he took a shot. When Patterson has the ball, things feel right and Rupp seems to take a deep relaxing breath.
(3) For the second straight game against Georgia, Joe Crawford had a stellar performance. 23 points, including a Tayshaun-like beginning to the game gave the Cats the scoring they needed with Smooth having a cold game shooting. Joe continues to amaze me with his uncanny ability to get a shot up against bigger guys when driving to the basket. The width of his body and his strength make him so tough and his ability to draw contact is simply second to none. Without Joe, this game is a loss.
(4) Wanna know who should take the big free throws toward the end of the game? The initial answer might be Bradley, but watch out for Perry Stevenson, who is shooting 85% in SEC play and hit two big ones tonight. He may struggle when he checks into games (Gillispie said that it was a must that Perry “be focused” when he begins play), but he is smooth on the line.
(5) Speaking of Smooth, yes he made some terrible decisions and shot poorly, but he had 12 rebounds, including some big ones late. Ramel is tough and he noted that “I couldnt do anything else right so I tried to hit the boards”, an attitude that coaches would surely love.
(6) Once again Bradley took a hard hit from Dave Bliss and when asked about it after the game, he smiled and said, “I guess that guy dont like me or something.” He did say however that he wasnt looking for retribution because “this game was too important.”
(7) That was an amazing 19 seconds of PT that Jared Carter received tonight.
(8) As you may have heard, Dusty Mills was kicked off the team after the Vanderbilt game and Jerry Tipton has an interesting story on the whole affair. Tipton’s portrayal of the events certainly makes it seem like Gillispie was very hard on the kid, especially after what may have been an innocuous affair that just happened to be caught on tape. But walk-ons have zero tolerance and Dusty was living the luckiest kids’ dream of all time. Dusty says that he was booted because of the laughing during the Georgia game and not the Vandy game (which makes sense as Williams was also laughing during the Georgia game and was suspended at the same time Mills was booted). Ramel Bradley offered to try and lead a team effort to get Mills back on the team, but he apparently declined and Bradley did say that he thought Gillispie would have allowed such a reversal to occur. Still an odd story and one that is interesting to say the least, even if slightly unclear as to the specifics. The Member by the way was back with the team and there all night.
(9) You havent lived until you have watched the UK players rap during warmups. With various rap hits playing during the layup lines, all guys on the team sort of “sing” the songs to each other and dance while getting ready….some are good (Bradley, Patterson, Dwight Perry), some are ok (Jasper, Harris, Stewart) and then some are….well hilarious (Carter, Krebs and Member). High comedy before a game starts.
(10) I would be remiss if I didnt mention the inaccuracy today of a Jerry Tipton Herald Leader blog that reported that Morakinyo Williams and Dusty Mills were both kicked off the team. This was put on the Herald’s website and under Tipton’s byline, both of which I must say make me smile since the Williams news was false. Those of us who do work primarily on the internet (TCP, Kentucky Sports Report, this site, etc) often get labeled as “internet” sources and, at least in the case of this and other blogs, are often derided by major media outlets. But the pressure has come on in recent years thanks to these sites and the Jerry Tiptons and John Clays now do “blogs” as well…..and often find themselves engaging in the EXACT SAME BEHAVIOR that they once derided as unprofessional. For Tipton, of all people, to engage in rumor spreading….especially a rumor that was uncredited and untrue….well it does make me smile.
Big win for the Cats….more later today, including what the players are saying about the NCAA Tournament…..until then, in case you havent seen the two videos below that we posted earlier today, please do….they have had me Cranking Dat Louisville and preparing for a Lions Super Bowl all night….