First of all, I want to thank the Morehead State Eagles from coming into a hostile arena against a much more talented team and showing everyone how important experience is in college basketball. Morehead gave a fantastic account of themselves, and Kenneth Faried showed tonight why he has a chance to play basketball for money somewhere when he graduates from Morehead. Donnie Tyndall's team will likely be a force again this year in the OVC, and they gave Kentucky plenty to think about.
Okay, now to the Wildcats. There is a big difference in Kentucky with John Wall, and without. Eric Bledsoe is a remarkable talent, and he had a really good game tonight, but here is the stat that you don't want to see -- 4 assists and 7 turnovers. That is not a good line out of your point guard, no matter how many points he scores. And Bledsoe scored plenty -- 7-14 for 24 points overall, including a dipsy-doo whacko shot that will be a SportsCenter highlight tonight.
Kentucky, once again, was plagued by turnovers. But the real problem is, they were plagued by bad shots. Yes, I know, the three is open against a sagging zone like Morehead employed tonight, and the DDM is not as effective against a zone, especially one that essentially concedes the three-point shot. But Kentucky was not patient and was too frenetic in their offensive effort in the half court.
On the upside, I really liked our effort on defense, particularly all the players giving up their body for charges. UK is long and tall and will get a ton of blocks this year, but they really showed exactly how that is done tonight, managing eight blocks. When this team really runs the floor, it is hard to get back fast enough to have any hope of stopping them. It will be even tougher with Wall in the lineup.
Here are tonight's observations:
- DeMarcus Cousins reminded me a lot of Randolph Morris tonight. I hope that doesn't continue.
- Patrick Patterson was a true monster, with an easy double-double. That's the Patterson we need to see this year.
- Darnell Dodson continues to play well offensively. He needs to be a bit more focused on defense.
- Eric Bledsoe is off the charts as an athlete. He really showed his full range of athleticism tonight.
- Perry Stevenson again gave good minutes in limited action. 3 rebounds in 14 minutes is not bad.
- Darius Miller must become more of a factor. He totally drifted this whole game.
- Daniel Orton is getting better every game. He needs to be more aggressive offensively.
- Ramon Harris does what he does -- give total effort. He got 21 minutes tonight, and even though he didn't make much of an impact on the stats, he was excellent defensively and was a steadying influence on the team, as a senior should be.
- Watching Calipari was really instructive tonight. Gone is Dr. Feel Good, who has been replacedy by Judge Dread.
- I loved the crowd. They were big and bad, just like they should be.
- Did Jimmy Dykes defend Calipari eloquently, or what?
- No DeAndre Liggins at all tonight, and very little Josh Harrellson. I think I know what Harrellson means, but Liggins?
Overall, it was a good game for the 'Cats, and an imprvement over every game so far. Just imagine John Wall and Eric Bledsoe together. Just imagine that. Chills run up my spine just thinking about it.
1-0. Go Cats!