What. A. Game.
We may be saying that a lot this year. I have no idea why, but at no time during this game did I ever worry about losing. Why? I can only suppose that perhaps John Wall is the reincarnation of the Buddha, and all I can think of is Zen.
Great effort by the Connecticut Huskies. They were what we knew they would be -- tough and determined. Jerome Dyson was incredible, Kemba Walker was amazing, Gavin Edwards outplayed everybody on both teams -- except one. John Wall. The Huskies were awesome, just amazing, but not amazing enough this time.
For Kentucky, well, we saw exactly what John Calipari implied we should see -- a really bad team having really good stretches because of their talent. Once again, UK had one more good stretch in this game than the opponent, a now-familiar theme for the 2009 Wildcats.
I have to confess, I really wanted Calipari to go zone. But as he has said, and perhaps I should acquiesce to (not a chance), "I am the coach, let me do my job." Okay, Coach, but forgive me if I sit in my armchair and disagree. It's what we do here in the Bluegrass State, and if you are going to kanoodle the job here at Kentucky, this is just another part of what you have so enthusiastically embraced. Deal with it.
Moving along, I was not concerned going in down six to the Huskies at the half. I want to stop right there and ask you all, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation -- when was the last time you could have imagined that we could go into half time down six points versus the UConn Huskies in Madison Square Garden and not be concerned? It has been a very, very long time, certainly the better part of a decade at least. That, in and of itself, is a wonderful thing.
More after the jump.
Here are the things that jump out at me:
- Bad Cuz, Good Cuz, all in the same game. Nothing to see here. Move along.
- John Wall. Well, what can you say? He was pretty good, but then, he always is. But he had a stretch in the first half where he looked very much like the freshman he is.
- Patrick Patterson -- Warrior of warriors. I have no idea how severe his ankle sprain is, but I get the impression he would have gone back in with a compound fracture -- he was going to make sure this game was won, and physical maladies be damned. And largely because of his leadership, the 'Cats did win.
- Eric Bledsoe had an off night, particularly defensively. It wasn't lack of effort, really, just lack of experience. He will get a lot better, and his effort was very good.
Darius Miller just took a step back tonight. He didn't look confident, his shot was flat, and the more he missed, the worse he played. But he had a great game defensively against Stanley Robinson, who was almost never a factor.
- Darnell Dodson made a couple of big shots, but he played abysmally overall, particularly on defense. He is much better than that.
- Daniel Orton did what he always does -- play harder than anybody. This time, he fouled out. He will have better days, and this day was better than it looked.
- Ramon Harris is such a great effort player, but he sure does need some kind of offensive game. Big free throw at the end, though. And a ton of rebounds.
- Josh Harrellson made one good play and then laid down flat. C'mon, Josh, you can do this.
- Perry Stevenson gave some good minutes, and did what he was in there to do.
- Are the oddsmakers any good or what? They had UK +2. Scary.
- That 12-0 run showed what could happen, just like the 28-2 run last week did. If the 'Cats can ever learn to sustain the effort, look out Indianapolis.
- Calipari did a great job. Then again, John Wall can make an average coach look like a genius. Fortunately, he didn't have to tonight.
- Where the heck did our offensive rebounding go? On vacation to Hawaii, apparently.
That's it. It's late. I'm finishing up a taste of Four Roses for a nightcap. Up next -- the Hoosiers.