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What went right/wrong against the Cards

Yesterday’s win over Louisville was huge, but it wasn’t all sunshine and daisies. Let’s look at what went right and what went wrong in the Cats’ win over the Cards:


Michael Man-Gilchrist
It’s been discussed ad nauseam, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is holding this team up right now. MKG logged 24 points and 19 rebounds in 39 minutes of play. That’s right: he played nearly every single minute of the game. He continues to step up when the Cats need a spark, and yesterday was undeniably his most impressive performance of the season. Maybe it’s because his mother was watching from the stands, one week after being in the hospital. Kidd-Gilchrist’s stock is rising faster than Cal’s Orange Leaf tab, and if he keeps it up, he’ll be the lead candidate for Player of the Year.

Anthony Davis’ return to the post
After being stuck on the sidelines with two fouls for most of the first half, Anthony Davis made up for it in the second, with 18 points, which included an incredible 12-13 performance from the free throw line. Having a big man who is that consistent from the charity stripe is key, as is Davis’ presence in the post. With him on the bench, Louisville came back by attacking the post, with Siva and Smith scoring on drive after drive. Once Davis was back in the game after halftime, he put a stop to all that nonsense, blocking three of Louisville’s drives and forcing them to rely on their outside shot. When Davis is in the game, the team finds its rhythm on both sides of the court.

One of the more ridiculous stats from yesterday was Kentucky’s total domination of the boards. The Cats out-rebounded the Cards 57-31, thanks in large part to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (19), Anthony Davis (10) and Terrence Jones (11). Prior to the game, Cal challenged his team to get physical in the paint, and winning the rebound battle is one of the reasons the Cats came out on top.


Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers
Kentucky turned the ball over 21 times, clearly falling victim to Louisville’s pesky press. Once Louisville saw how poorly Kentucky was handling the press, they amped it up. Marquis Teague and Darius Miller simply couldn’t handle it. Miller looked especially lost, committing eight turnovers. After Kentucky’s struggles against it, surely this won’t be the last time they’ll see a team use the press.

Poor shooting
It’s telling that the Cats found a way to win despite turning in one of their worst shooting performances of the season, going 17-57 from the field for 29.8%. In fact, Kentucky’s shooting percentage was the worst of Calipari’s tenure as coach, and the Cats have not won a game shooting so poorly since 2003. Fortunately, Louisville wasn’t much better, shooting only 32.3%. It’s a testament to the Cats’ hard work on the boards and at the foul line that they pulled out a win.

Okay, a lot of this falls on the whistle-happy refs, but it’s clear how badly we struggled with key players like Anthony Davis stuck on the bench. Because of foul trouble, Cal was forced to use lineups he admitted he’d never even considered before, and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Thankfully, the Cats probably won’t see a game called so closely for the rest of the season, but they need to be better at eliminating stupid fouls.

All in all, the Cats found to grind a win out despite some troubling errors. Winning ugly never sounded so nice.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

23 Comments for What went right/wrong against the Cards

  1. DaLongshanks
    7:07 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    That should be charity stripe

  2. Justin G.
    7:14 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    The one thing I did not understand, is why he did not use Vargas more, especially on the defensive end. Wiltjer was getting caught on the screen and switch with Russ Smith, and Smith tortured him to the hoop. I think Wiltjers defense will get better, but, Vargas would have been a much better defensive choice when you think about it. He has done a fine job with effective defense, great rebounding, put backs, and blocking, when given the chance.

  3. Ken in Middletown
    7:21 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    I’ll never understand the “logic” of benching a great player after 2 early fouls (Davis). He scores no points, gets no rebounds, and no blocks if you voluntarily take him out of the game. Had he stayed in, yes, he MIGHT have eventually fouled out. If so, so be it, but at least he would have contributed, or had the opportunity to do so.

  4. bluebolood
    7:29 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    National championship game on the line, a few seconds left, i want the ball in Kidd-Gilchrist’s hands.

  5. Hambone
    7:33 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    We struggled with full-court pressure and the halfcourt trap. We will have to get those things squared away going forward. We are not really loaded with players that have good handles.

  6. Bigcat4453
    7:47 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    If the player fouls out and the game is close down the stretch then you cannot go to this star playe rto help you win the game. If you bench the player after picking up that 2nd foul what you are doing is seeing if your team matches us well enough with your opposition to keep your star on teh bench. If your opposition goes on a huge run you stick that star back in the game then hoping youyr star doesn’t pick up another foul. Coaching 101

  7. Ken in Middletown
    7:55 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    6…. Right!! We saw how we fared with Davis on the bench-the Cards came back from a 15 pt. defecit to tie the game!! How long does it take to see how “we match uo to our opposition” without our star player? Coaching 101, part B!

  8. bosshogg24
    8:03 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    Teague should be benched until he decides to play! Jones has cost himself about 10 million dollars and went from a top 10 pick to the second round, all because of no hustle,loafing and pouting!

  9. JBR
    8:07 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    Miller sucks…no heart. And, a big IF, but if Louisville knocks down a few more shots, everyone may be talking about how Rick out-coached Cal. I hate Pitino as much anyone in the BBN, and I hate to say it, but Rick wanted that ugly game, all of the fouling, and it nearly worked. Talent-wise, Louisville sucks, bad…but they play hard and they play with heart, something most of our guys absolutely do not do. Take MKG out of our line up, and we have a very soft team. If someone like Miller had the attitude of MKG, he would be a lotter pick, but right now, he shouldn’t start for the Lady Cats. And, playing hard and tenacity…some of that is in a person, but a lot of it is coaching. Cal needs to spend more time getting his guys to fight and play hard and less time telling us that we shouldn’t worry so much about the Louisville game.

  10. ktmiln2
    8:17 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    9. Good points. All I can say is thank goodness for MKG yesterday

  11. Mr Schwump
    8:21 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    Tyler, your censorship is repulsive.

  12. DDD
    8:28 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    Do we have a press offense. Looked like to me the ball is passed inbounds and then everyone else runs down the floor and that person tries to dribble the ball up the floor against three defenders. L-ville would run and jump and our players would leave the floor and the next L-ville player would no where the pass was going and intercept the pass. How about attacking the middle with a diagonal cut by a UK player. Also need to work on offense against a zone by passing the ball to the middle more.

  13. ktmiln2
    8:32 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    8- were you watching the game? He struggle D offensively and still had, what, 11 boards? That’s hustlling. When you have a bad offensive game, it’s easy to quit.

  14. bung
    8:41 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    10 ways to only score 2 fastbreak baskets on 37 defensive rebounds:
    10. go the wrong way
    9. dont go at all
    8. throw rebound at looavul bench
    7. have only 10 assists in the game
    6. slow outlet passes
    5. coach said don’t run
    4. it makes you tired
    3. I hate to pass
    2. it is easier to chase them after turnovers
    1. I forgot

  15. Lou eaton
    9:03 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    Lot to worry about after this game…We simply are lacking the intensity required except for Kidd-Gilchrist who proved the pundits correct who said he was the best player in his junior year of HS and infact the best player in any class…Jones I believe will be okay as 13 says he did get to the boards which means he was working hard. His offense is down because of the finger which will get better with time…Teague needs to drive more like Gilchrist and draw fouls or feed Davis/Jones for dunks etc…team has two or three ballers and some timid players…

  16. chasing8
    9:17 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    A minor thing that really bothers me though is that our pg Teague, who knows how to use his left hand, usually insists on using his right hand on left handed lay ups and either misses them or gets blocked, where a left handed try would probably go in or at least draw a foul. This is mid-season and he still hasn’t learned that. Wall was great at that, and all point guards should develop this ability.

  17. bigbluecats
    9:33 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    9. How does he have no heart. How many games has he taken over in his career when no one else would. I have seen plenty where he has drove to the basket in the closing minutes to give UK a chance. As for a few more shots for UL. If not for the 2 garbage 3s at the end when UK didnt play defense, then its a 13 point win instead of 7. So that even makes any UL fans argument that fouls mattered, a moot point. Yea the game was ugly. But Pitino wanted a physical sloopy game because UK had questionable depth but it backfired and his team ended up in foul trouble

  18. Thatsashame
    9:38 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    I think Miller turnover stats are misleading. A number of passes he threw to where the player should have been. He went after boards. Played great D. He missed a few shots in close but in this case I think the stats do not tell the story.

  19. RickyPRetirementTour
    10:11 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    Does anyone know how Harrow looks in practice against Teague? I hope Harrow looks better running a offense then Teague does.

  20. Lovelease
    10:29 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    Tj looked soft because his finger calm down
    Teague and kyle are pus&ys
    Mkg is the diamond
    Cal rulz
    Rick has bad taste in women
    Mitch couldnt AD himself out of a happymeal
    Joker hasnt finished coaching for ‘tards
    Lady cats r great
    Half the mens bball team look stoned
    Rupp is a turd
    This is just my opinion

  21. CoalFreeCats
    10:30 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    Tyler is the MKG of this blog. Look at her carrying the “team” in the live blog yesterday and all day today. MsTT = MVP.

  22. catfan68
    11:33 pm January 1, 2012 Permalink

    I LOVE MKG!!!!!

  23. warrior
    9:41 am January 2, 2012 Permalink

    i hate ark little rock with every fiber of my body.