As we bask in the wistful spoils of another victory, our attention naturally turns to our next opponent, the Broncs (yes Broncs, with no ‘o’. I hate them already) of Rider University. They no doubt have grabbed the attention of our fearless leader, as evidenced by some of his postgame comments last night:
“We are not playing winning basketball right now. It may catch us. [Rider] got beat at Virginia and did not shoot well. They are better 3-point shooting team than this team (Sam Houston State) we played today,” Calipari said.
“I am going back to watch tape and then going to punch walls. Then I have to get this game out of my system and watch Rider to see how we can stay in the game and guard a team that has offensive players and won at Mississippi State.
“Mississippi State couldn’t guard them and I bet you they are better defensive team than we are now.”
Not surprisingly, Coach was right. The Broncs shot a cool 7-for-23 against Virginia en route to a 33-point loss. Contrasting that with the combined 26-for-45 they shot from behind the arc in their wins over Lehigh and Jerry Tipton’s pick to win the SEC, Mississippi State, you can see that their offense relies on the three ball in much the same way Billy Gillispie’s coaching style relied on losing. This, it would seem, could pose a problem for a team whose three-point defense has, at times, found itself severely lacking in existence.
Maybe it’s the Gardner-Webbs of the world that have my head all turned around. Maybe at some point in the last few years, someone left a pair of Michael Jordan’s shoes in the visitor’s locker room at Rupp, leading to Little Bow Wow-esque capabilities for one jerk on every random team that visits the hallowed halls. Maybe after the double-clutch three that random jerk #74 hit last night, I lost touch with reality and have actually spent the last 12 hours wandering the streets. As in so many cases I think it’s probably a combination of these factors, but with only one day to prepare, the tea leaves seem to say that Kentucky might be ripe to get Ridered.
Now, I’m not some wacky alarmist like those new guys we brought in, but I am sane enough to say that we have some holes, and Rider’s strength seems to be in the area where we are the weakest. However, given the torches you all just picked up, I’d like to state clearly that I think we’ll win by at least 90, if they even show up to the arena. Seriously, I still think we’ll win the game going away, but a spade is a spade and, more than any kind of commentary on the game or life, this really is just a plea to the boys in blue. Please, from the bottom of my heart, play some three-point defense. I don’t want to see Coach Cal get angry and I think, maybe, he got close last night. Mr. Patterson, what do you think?