Tubby: “I didn’t know Coach Pitino was having a garage sale, I would’ve gotten you to pick me up a suit too.”
Ford: That’s a good one coach. I think I’ll wear it to the press conference…the one where they name me as your replacement!”
Umass assistant: “Snap, crackle, pop!” (high five/low five/around the back five)
Well, we got about 37 minutes of quality ball out of Kentucky tonight, as the Cats laid it to UMass 82-68. Somebody’s been working on their shooting…and it showed tonight as the previously clanky Joe Crawford and company were truthful from the perimeter. UK shot an astounding 63 % from 3 (7-11), to go along with deft 58 % touch from the field. I’m sure Matt will have much more (probably too much) on the performance of his “Jake Gyllenhal”, Big Woo, but for the third game in a row Woo did things that basketball players do. Looking even more “Dirk-ish” by the day, Woo’s new nickname just might have to be ’12-footer’…but only if John Holmes forfeits the rights. It looks like that jumper he developed over each summer since he’s been in Lexington has finally been unleashed. At this rate the rest of the NBA season will be a folly-filled speactacle of “who’ll get the Woo?” Sweepstakes.
Umass played like you would expect any Travis Ford coached team to play…except his players can grab rim. They played good, illeagal on the ball D; hit open jumpers; and played ’til the final horn. Give a lot of credit to Kentucky’s D for keeping Umass, a team which feeds on rythm, out of sync the entire contest.
Another workmanlike-if-dominance-is-your-work performance from Randolph Morris, who continues to command the ball and put it in its rightful place. Novel, I know. Great play out of the backcourt, with Bradley, Jasper, Meeks, and Crawford all picking up their games. Poor Bobby Perry, who came out with a vengence only to pick up a couple early cheapies. Perry was 4-5 from the field, but it would’ve been nice for his confidence for him to get 15-20 points.
Sans the atrocity from the charity stripe, occasional shaky ball-handling, and end of the game sleepwalk, this was the most complete performance from Kentucky thus far. Why? Passing. I’ve been saying it all season, UK’s offensive woes can always be attributed to a lack of ball movement. Think back to the great UK teams of a few years ago: they scored more because they passed more. Tonight, 20 assists/58% FG/82 points…not a coincidence.
Plenty more breakdown ahoe, so stay stay with us. Seriously, where else are you going to go?