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UK appears to be very, very good at basketball

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I really don’t know what to tell you, Cats fans. I mean, is this real life? Did we just watch back-to-back unbelievable basketball games from UK in the middle of August? I want to keep my expectations for the upcoming season in check. I want to see this team slip up so all of those unwanted “perfection” thoughts escape my mind. I want a reason to think it’ll be another year of waiting ’til March to see them peak. But, man, the team we’re seeing down here in the Bahamas appears to be the real deal and they are lightyears ahead of where last year’s team was at this point in the season. They just blew out a team of professionals, GAMs if you will, in a game I somewhat expected UK to lose. Boy was I wrong. The Cats rolled all over Chalons-Reims, 81-58, and now my phone is blowing up with “We good” text messages from back home in the States. Let’s talk about today’s stellar showing…

 

Karl Towns followed up his big debut with an even bigger performance.

Towns is wasting no time in making an impact on this team. He was the game’s MVP in only his second appearance for Kentucky, scoring a game-high 19 points and grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds, plus three flashy assists. The no-look pass to Dominique Hawkins was my favorite moment of the game because (a) it was a gorgeous pass and (b) I did not expect to see Dominique throw down a baseline dunk. Alex Poythress and the Harrison twins went crazy on the bench when it happened. Get up, young fella.

After the game, Andrew Harrison spoke highly of his new freshman big man, who was sitting next to him during the interview. He said the future is bright for Towns and he is really looking forward to playing with him when it matters.

Also from the postgame action, Towns said he was satisfied by his day but he missed two free throws and that is unacceptable, leading to a pretty good laugh from Andrew.

Double figures for Alex Poythress, again.

Poythress scored 16 in the win, the second-highest individual total from the game. Kenny Payne said afterward he believes Poythress will “have a phenomenal year” for the Cats:

“He came back to school to prove to the world I’m one of the best forwards in the country. You see his athleticism. It is one of the most athletic forwards in the country. Now mentally he has to put together the fight, the determination to go out and prove to people how good he is because some people still question because they see the inconsistencies. Me personally, I think he’s going to have a phenomenal year. That’s why he’s here. That’s why he came back.”

Love it.

Andrew Harrison punch all over some guy.

He’s not just a shooter anymore. This poor defender found that out the hard way.

It’s funny, just yesterday Aaron told us we can expect to see more dunks from him. He failed to mention it would be the following day and all over someone’s face.

UK responded well after getting “hit in the mouth.”

Dunks and no-look passes are great and all, but the most exciting takeaway from the game is how UK handled being down early. They got hit in the mouth to start the game, as Kenny Payne put it, but they made adjustments, stayed physical and responded with their own flurry of punches. That’s a very bright sign for the future, how this team will handle the situation when things aren’t going their way. We learned today they’re tough enough to play through it.

I really, really, really, really love Tyler Ulis.

Andrew is still my guy, but I want Ulis to be on the court as much as possible. He’s terrific.

UK may play 10 or 11 guys during the season.

It’s very unlikely Cal will use a 10- or 11-man rotation once the real basketball gets here, but Kenny Payne said it is a possibility. “I think as long we dictate the pace defensively, if we’re initiating everything that happens on the floor, we can play 10, 11 guys,” he said. “If the other team dictates, we won’t be able to play that many guys. We have to control the tempo of the game. Our numbers are unbelievable. The number of quality players we have are unbelievable. We just have to make sure that, in order to play those guys, that we don’t let the other team control what we’re trying to do. We control them.”

If Cal goes to his usual seven or eight, he’s going to have one heck of a decision to make about which players to roll with. Payne told us, “That’s why you pay John Calipari a whole lot of money. He’ll figure it out.”

Trying to think of something negative to say…

Got nothing. Absolutely nothing. Someone please talk me down from this basketball high.

I’m just going to leave this here…

@L_A_Weaver

Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

37 Comments for UK appears to be very, very good at basketball



  1. billybob
    7:17 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    Nice summary, Drew. Let’s talk 40 – … Never mind!



  2. CardFan502
    7:17 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    so wut, we got trez .



  3. Blasphemy
    7:21 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    I didn’t like our FT %…. that’s all I got.



    • Negative
      7:55 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      Bingo! Everyone revel in the fools gold of athletic play….then cry when they get beat by a slow little team like Wisconsin



    • M
      9:09 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      They’re going to have about 6 guys that shoot at or above 75%: Lyles, Towns, Booker, Ulis, The twins. If it’s crunch time, they can play a line-up with 5 of these 6.



    • Hey
      9:48 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      Hey, M, get out of here with your logic, facts, and common sense! We don’t need anything intelligent ’round these parts, damnit.



    • ukjaybrat
      7:33 am August 12, 2014 Permalink

      it’s august, shooting in general is way down. a few more practices under their belt and 3pt shooting, free throws, and short jumpers will all get a lot better



  4. pfife
    7:22 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    I love watching the Kids doing well. Especially after learning that everyone who wanted to see the Cats in the Bahamas could get great seats for nothing. I smell Barnhart.



  5. Blasphemy
    7:25 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    I wish our 3pt % was up a bit higher, but I didn’t hate it…..



  6. Jus Sayin
    7:32 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    Andrew Harrison played well. 5 assists and drew a bunch of fouls. Tyle Ulis is good but I dont think he should start over Andrew just yet.



  7. Depoy Rock City
    7:40 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    I’ll go ahead and say it …we are better without Randle.



    • Aaron Craft's Rosacea
      10:02 am August 12, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah- a double-double close to every game really hurt us last year. We are better with an improved Andrew Harrison.



  8. Negative Nancy
    7:42 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    I guess I’m the guy who has to try and think up something negative…

    I could see this team having the same fate as the 09-10 team if we have a really cold night shooting 3s and can’t hit our FTs. Booker needs to get up to at least 35% from beyond the arc. If Aaron and Ulis can get to 30, and Alex makes 25% and only shoots sparingly, I think we will be fine. All our guards need to be hitting 80% or more from the FT line. Dakari and Willie probably won’t shoot higher than 50, so we need the guards to make up for that and hope that Towns shoots as high a percentage as his form would indicate.

    With all that being said I still don’t think the shooting is that big of an issue for a couple of reasons. One being that the depth is so massive, that 1 of the 4 or 5 guys who can shoot it we have is bound to get hot in any particular game. Another is that this team is so much smarter and more disciplined than the 09-10 team. That team was stubborn against WVU and refused to penetrate or go down low and kept jacking up 3s out of spite. If this team does ever find themselves in a game in March where we can’t put it in the ocean then I think the guys are smart enough to drive the lanes and get it up on the glass to create offensive put backs.

    In summary I guess my only criticism is somewhat of a compliment. Damn this team looks scary.



    • Luther
      7:51 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      Good post and I agree with you on our depth. However, Cal’s philosophy and track record on utilizing depth is a matter of public record which will probably negate our advantage here…



    • Negative Nancy
      8:03 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      Luther, Cal usually plays a 7 man rotation. I think it isn’t unreasonable that it is 8 this year (and I honestly think it could be 10. In years past the reason we only used 7 is because we only had 7 who could play at a high level.) But even if you assume we only play 8, then you have to assume Andrew, Aaron, Ulis, Booker and Poythress are all in the top 8. That is 5 guys who can all get streaky and hit a three. My point is that one of those guys is bound to hit 1 or 2 threes in any given game. That’s why I’m not too worried, is because all we need is one of those guys to show up once every 5 games.



    • Brian
      8:35 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      Luther’s either a Louisville troll or a Cal hater – either way, he’s an idiot…



    • Why?
      8:42 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      Why is Luther an idiot? He’s not wrong. Cal does have a rep for playing 7. Heck, he leaves starters in until the very end of games with big leads. So what’s wrong with noting that he plays a short bench?



    • Ben
      9:52 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      Luther is a troll or an idiot because he was posting all kinds of anti-UK and pro-UL garbage yesterday in every single thread that he could, not because of what he said in the comment in this thread.



  9. Luther
    7:47 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    40 – 0, baby!



    • Ben
      9:53 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      Trez is going to have at least 3 sets of balls rubbed in his face after he’s dunked over repeatedly by this team.



    • UKBlue1!
      12:23 pm August 12, 2014 Permalink

      Dec 27



  10. btowncatfan
    7:54 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    In case you missed it, just noticed ESPNU is replaying the game at 10:00 p.m. tonight.



  11. Rei
    8:06 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    Free throws will come in time. Last year’s team struggled with it and turned it around, so did the national title team.



  12. Willy
    8:07 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    More than I expected or even hoped for this early on!!!!



  13. 40-0
    8:18 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    That’s Aaron Harrison punching all over someone. Not Andrew.



  14. Sinful
    8:23 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    I, or anyone else, has absolutely nothing to complain about in August about how the team is playing, or shooting. But I don’t like to see the same bad habits we saw beginning to diminish 4 months ago. I noticed Andrew Harrison forcing the ball towards the basket instead of embracing his role as a distributor. He is still a much more suitable option than Ullis at this point, I can’t find a reason why but that sounds good. I just want to see the “tweaked” Andrew not the high school Andrew.



    • Brian
      8:31 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      “None of us should be complaining.”

      Then immediately complains…..



  15. Ukcatzfan
    8:36 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    Only 18-27 from free throw line missed freetrhows will cost a game or two



    • Jesus Effin' Facepalm Christ
      8:39 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      IT’S A F$%#@ EXHIBITION GAME IN AUGUST!!!!!



  16. OldUkFan
    9:01 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    When you up 20 it doesn’t matter if you miss a free throw or three. Geez people get a grip. Don’t bother comparing this team to any other in the history of Kentucky basketball or Coach Cal. There has never been a team this deep with this many offensive options.



    • M
      9:13 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      Exactly. If the games close, you can have a lineup of Towns, Lyles, the twins, and either Ulis or Booker. All will be good free throw shooters.



  17. frankfort fanatic
    9:18 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    Did anyone make a youtube channel of the whole game? I was at work and wasn’t able to watch it. I need a new job lol.



    • Shmats
      9:47 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

      It replays at 10 on ESPNU or you can watch the replay on watchespn.com



    • Axe Cop
      8:46 am August 12, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah the watchespn replay is the way to go…I can skip through commercials like a DVR.



  18. Al/in/Indy
    9:49 pm August 11, 2014 Permalink

    This is just August, and from what I’ve seen in these past two games write more than a page with this team…They play exceptionally with looking for the extra pass, I’m not too worried about the outside shooting for it will come in time.
    This team from what I’ve witnessed in these past few games, the hardest games they COULD have is what they do in practice…Cal and his staff will figure it out if a full substitution is the call of the day. Personally I saw no drop off when they did.



  19. ukjaybrat
    8:27 am August 12, 2014 Permalink

    “If the other team dictates, we won’t be able to play that many guys. We have to control the tempo of the game.”

    i know it’s august and their FT% will get better, but that will be the key to dictating tempo. If our FT% is as bad as it was at the beginning of last year, teams will do the same thing as last year: foul the crap out of us to slow us down. And it worked for most of the regular season until our FT% picked up heading into tourney season.



  20. Jodygrinder
    9:48 am August 12, 2014 Permalink

    In the tradition of having various nicknames for a player or two on the team, I would like to suggest one for K arl – A nthony T owns. “BIG KAT”.