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Four underrated story-lines from UK/UL



1. We survived Willie Cauley-Stein foul trouble

When you have 2 platoons filled with McDonald’s All-Americans, you almost feel as if your team is immune to foul trouble. And in most instances, I would say yes. But there is one player who is superior defensively to the rest…

When Willie Cauley-Stein reached in for a silly foul early in the second half, it looked as if Kentucky might have to play a big chunk of the 2nd half without its best all-around defender. At that moment, the game was still very much in limbo. Louisville was keeping Kentucky in check offensively, and it felt like the kind of game where you didn’t want to be on the wrong end of a “big run” because¬†points were just so hard to come by on either end. Willie is so diverse defensively, and Louisville had plenty of big bodies down low to capitalize on his absence.

When Willie came back into the game, he quickly picked up his 4th foul. Once again, in a tight contest it was looking as if Kentucky might have to manage without its best defender. But…


2. We survived Willie Cauley-Stein’s foul trouble in large part due to Marcus Lee¬†

One of the big reasons Kentucky was able to handle Willie’s foul trouble was because of some good situational defending by Marcus Lee. Lee did nothing flashy in the game, and might have been an afterthought to most when thinking about all of yesterdays’ performances. Lee came in and played solid minutes defensively against Louisville’s All-American Montrezl Harrell. Even though Lee was vastly outweighed and muscled by Harrell, he held his own. Lee accounted for Kentucky’s only 3 blocked shots of the game.

Marcus Lee is likely never going to be a guy this season that Kentucky has to count on for significant points or minutes. Lee’s biggest contributions might come in moments such as yesterday’s game when someone gets in foul trouble and Kentucky needs a few key minutes of solid defense, or a couple of important rebounds.


3. Karl Anthony Towns finally mixed it up in a physical game

The biggest knock on Towns so far this season has been that he hasn’t necessarily met the challenge head on when playing against physical teams in the post. In some of Kentucky’s biggest games this season, Towns has been unable to assert himself offensively in the post. Towns has been a monster on the glass, and has been a better shot blocker than anyone expected. When Kentucky was struggling for any hint of daylight down low against Louisville yesterday, Towns provided a few “big boy” plays where he outmuscled the Cards and grabbed a rebound, or put up a contested shot (or got fouled). While some of Kentucky’s other big men were fumbling the ball when receiving entry passes, Towns came up with the biggest and most effective offensive plays in the post for Kentucky yesterday. Just like Willie made himself some money against Texas a few weeks ago, Karl Anthony Towns showed his chops against future NBA talent (Montrezl Harrell) in front of a national audience and likely earned himself some money as well.


4. Andrew will be okay

Everyone wants to make a lot out of yesterday’s game regarding Andrew Harrison. I even caught myself stewing as I watched him slumping on the bench time and time again while his team was making a nice run on the court. As much as we want to live in the moment and fully jump on the Tyler Ulis train (and trust me, it’s a damn good train to be on), we can’t overlook the season Andrew has had so far. Tyler Ulis may very well be the best point guard Kentucky has now and the best point guard Kentucky has moving forward. But Andrew Harrison isn’t going to stop being a factor on this team. John Calipari won’t let it happen. You could see it in his post-game comments. He spent more time talking about Andrew than he did gushing over Ulis. Cal is good at this kind of stuff. He knows when his guys are down and he sees a very down Andrew Harrison right now. Cal will go to work over the next 10 days to get Andrew’s head right because whether you want to believe it or not…. Kentucky will need Andrew Harrison AND Tyler Ulis at various points in this long season. Don’t kid yourself into thinking otherwise. That match up yesterday was not made for Andrew Harrison. At all.




Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

9 Comments for Four underrated story-lines from UK/UL

  1. RCat
    3:08 pm December 28, 2014 Permalink

    I have been hearing fans talk about putting Ulis in as the starter. Why? To me, Cal is going to stay with the twins in the starting 5 because there is no reason not to. Andrew is a great player that just needs some confidence, and has quite a bit of big game experience to boot. Taking him out would only set him back mentally, when UK has already been winning every game by wide margins. Keeping Andrew as starter only shows support for him, while allowing Ullis to come in with less pressure as a starter with only 13 games of experience.

    Cal does not have subs as much as he has a legit second 5 that play almost as many minutes as the starters, so Ullis will get plenty of minutes. At the end of games he usually sticks with the players that have been playing the best.

  2. babydangy
    3:28 pm December 28, 2014 Permalink

    That’s what many don’t understand is that yesterday was a bad match-up for Andrew. Yeah he struggled, but every athlete has bad games it’s going to happen. It’s the same talk as last year and what happened? Oh yeah he just happened to lead us to a title game. I’m sick and tired of hearing all the criticism this kid receives. I don’t think any player in the cal era has gotten more criticism than Andrew, when it’s not deserved. You know who hit a big 3 for us yesterday when we needed it? Andrew. I do believe that Andrew is similar to Poythress in that he responds better if Cal would just talk to him and not yell at him. I have always believed that Poythress was a player that doesn’t like the yelling. If Cal was to do that I really think Andrew would respond better. But Andrew will bounce back and I am for one happy that he is our PG.

  3. Casper
    3:43 pm December 28, 2014 Permalink

    all i want for Christmas is #9, then Ulis, Lee and Poythress return for #10.

  4. Kyblue34
    5:07 pm December 28, 2014 Permalink

    I think most of the criticism towards Andrew is based on the whole season and not just yesterday’s game. He has played poorly in more games than he has played well, and truthfully has been outplayed by even some mid-major PGs. You say yesterday was a bad matchup for him, but almost all of the PGs we play are about the same size as Jones. What would be a good matchup for him? Let’s be honest, unless Andrew improves immensely over the rest of the year, there is no NBA team that is going to draft him as a PG. He simply isn’t fast enough, which causes him to struggle with ball-handling, getting the offense flowing, and guarding the opposing PG. Unless he learns how to play faster, this is going to continue. I would much rather see Andrew get more minutes at the 2 & 3 spots, with a little time at PG when Ulis is in foul trouble or needs a breather. Not too long ago, we had a PG that was in a very similar situation as Andrew, and his name was Deandre Liggins. Cal moved him to play more on the wing, and his game flourished. I really like Andrew and want to see his game flourish just the same, and I think he could have a great professional career – just not as a PG. Just my opinion.

    • American Errorist
      7:07 pm December 28, 2014 Permalink

      Completely agree! Andrew Harrison is not a PG, for some reason most of these comments are KSR sycophants and refuse to believe that Ulis is a better PG for this team. That Doesn’t mean Andrew can’t get the most out of his abilities and be a really good player for UK and in the NBA

    • babydangy
      5:11 am December 29, 2014 Permalink

      You are just making up stuff. Andrew has played well in majority of the games. He is averaging 7.3 ppg, 2.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 2.2 turnovers. He’s defense is much much improved, and he averages more assists that Ulis, so yeah he has played so bad.

  5. Rixter
    5:40 pm December 28, 2014 Permalink

    Here’s the big difference: if Andrew plays on the White Platoon, he’ll get about 23 minutes a game. But if Cal outs him on the Blue Platoon, he might not get more than about 23 minutes. That would be devastating to any player.

  6. BTownUKFan
    7:14 pm December 28, 2014 Permalink

    Andrew had as many rebounds as Booker and Ulis combined. He had double the assists of Ulis, he had 2 steals to Ulis none. I don’t understand why anyone would want Cal to change the line ups at this point unless they want to see the chemistry of this team disrupted. Put Ulis on the blue team and opponents would start gearing their defense towards him, bigger guards would be shooting over him and out-muscling him, his turn-overs would go up and people would complain that Harrison needs to start.
    Fans need to understand that we still have a long way to go, the Harrisons are the reason we made it to the championship game last year and anyone that doubts their capabilities is just being stupid.
    GO CATS !!

  7. Leuther
    8:23 pm December 28, 2014 Permalink

    Agree. Good post BTown…