Yesterday’s Wildcat victory was eerily similar to their last in Rupp two years ago.
A short lead at the half. A Louisville comeback early in the second. Then UK’s talent and assertiveness took control of the game, keeping U of L measured the rest of the way.
The margin then was seven, 69-62. Yesterday, it was again seven, 73-66.
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One guy’s opinion is it’s too easy to say the game was won by the bigs.
Though, I have to admit, the pertinent stats point in that direction.
UK outrebounded the Cards, 44-36 overall, and by 5 on the offensive glass, 17-12.
Kentucky had 17 second chance points to only 6 for the Cards, a number well north of the victory margin. Kentucky outscored Louisville in the paint, 42-24. Again, it’s a number significantly in excess of the victory margin.1
The winners got 42 points from the 3, 4 and 5, the losers only 24.
In the weirdest non-pertinent stat of the day, the Cards blocked 5 shots, while the Cats only rejected 4.
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Much of the pregame conjecture centered on the 3 spot as the factor to watch. The theory being that UK would win underneath, and Louisville would win the backcourt scoring battle.
James Young had 18 points, 10 boards and four assists.
Wayne Blackshear was whistled for two fouls very early in a span of :39, the second, an awful call, with 17:43 on the first half clock. He never got untracked, though he did provide some needed energy late before he DQed.
Luke Hancock is still off his feed, needing 11 shots to tally 8 points.
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As with the North Carolina L, Russ Smith and Chris Jones took way too many of Louisville’s shots.
Yesterday they fired 33 of U of L’s 58 attempts.
More salient, the duo spent too much of the Cardinals’ offensive possession time dribbling the ball.
Whether by design or faulty execution, U of L had very little motion when it had the ball. The Rick seems to have chosen to live and die with the pick & roll offense this season. Without a legit point guard — unless that turns out to be Terry Rozier — imbalance is going to prove an Achilles heel.
The moribund offensive scheme, on display yesterday as it was against the Tar Heels, should have Cards’ fans scared about this season’s prospects.
Harrell, Behanan, Van Treese and Mathiang cannot create their own shots, so there must be sets to get them the rock down low. None have appeared so far this season.
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Kentucky obviously played its best game of the year yesterday.
The Wildcats stayed focused and displayed hardwood maturity.
U of L made its second half run, taking the lead, 52-51, on a Chris Jones FT with 11:01 to play.
It was during that stoppage that Julius Randle left the game for good with leg cramps. Without their best player, UK didn’t wilt and proved steely, outscoring the Cards by eight the rest of the way.
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So, we are left to ponder what we learned yesterday?
That UK may very well morph into the powerhouse expected of this tall, talented if young group. When tested late, they dominated a Top 25 team at crunch time, without their best player on the court.
Louisville’s inherent flaws were again on display. No real point guard to get things flowing. Nobody other than the backcourt players who can create their own shots. Spotty rebounding and FT shooting.
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I was never able to find out what the actual scheduled tipoff time was to be? Though it was eventually delayed at least fifteen minutes.
It was obvious all week that the ‘Nova/’Cuse game would run well over the 4:00 hour.
So, why didn’t CBS just schedule the tip of U of L/ UK for 4:30?
To its credit, the network did cut to the U of L game for tipoff — at least here in Louisville, and, I assume, Lexington — even though the other game wasn’t completed.
— Seedy K
7 thoughts on “Kentucky Measures Louisville By 7 In Bluegrass Battle”
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Greg Anthony was on the money with many of his assessments; aside from Smith & Jones, no Card wanted the ball, and none moved to be in places to receive a pass. The “bigs” who got the most clock were observers; Behanen did do a good job making Randle work hard to get the ball, otherwise the only interior defense was the little MM displayed, while clearly still too physically weak. Our perimeter defense is porous, and as hard as SVT plays his only rival for the tortoise trophy is Luke who has never been the roadrunner but might be forgiven with his lame ankle. The AAC might not be the cakewalk it has been expected to be with any team that is aggressive and hits the boards. I assume Rick has no trust in any of his potential “5’s” tp catch and pass at the high post, which he did run in the very early season. Lastly, regardless of pre-season predictions, unless an NBA team would use a 1st round pick for a Ben Wallace type player, “Silent L” will be here for more seasoning.
As an aside, is Randle poorly conditioned, or does he suffer from Sickle Cell trait which will always be a problem, as we have seen in some of our past players ?
last year at this time I was wondering why the hoopla about Luke Hancock. He couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with a bass fiddle as my father used to say. Today I am wondering the same thing. I only hope I am as wrong about Luke as I was last year. Because if the Cards are to have any chance of. winning the amateur division of college hoops (UK is a cinch for the pro division) it will need Luke and the ever disappointing Wayne Blackshear.
I think Luke’s ankle problems are the root of his shot not falling. His shot is much flatter than it was last year. I don’t think he has the same lift on his takeoff and that is the cause of lack of arc.
As was the case this time last year, Luke is coming off an injury. Gorgui is not coming through that door, folks. Mangok is at least a year away. Last year we had the ideal balance of size, experience, leadership and talent. This year we don’t. But I also remember us pontificating about the weaknesses of the Cards this time last year. BTW , I was out of town yesterday, outside the state. The game was joined at the 8-0 mark.
I watched the game on the CBS affiliate in Nashville TN. Got to see the opening tip and the full game. Of course, UK is the second favorite SEC team in Middle Tennessee.
In Orlando we were up either 5-0 or 8-0 before the game came on.
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