Well, it was interesting.
Congratulations to the Austin Peay Governors for hanging in there with an obviously bigger and more talented Kentucky Wildcat team. The Governors had no quit in them, and are much better than I expected. They challenged our big people, took (and mostly made) the shots Kentucky gave them, and just generally impressed me with their toughness and physicality, particulary in the interior.
Today was a day of extremes -- extreme badness and extreme goodness. But the only stat that matters was pure, unalloyed goodness.
The badness was our team defense -- it was pretty loathsome. I have not looked at the numbers yet (I usually don't until I do the stat analysis), but I do know that Kentucky's defensive eFG% was not as good as it should have been by a long way.
With that said, though, you have to love the spectacular stuff that the team delivered today. As I sit here enjoying a victory tot of Four Roses Single Barrel, my thoughts turn to the amazing double-alley-oop, Eric Bledsoe to John Wall to Patrick Patterson. That was, in a microcosm, the goodness of today. UK shared the basketball incredibly well on offense, and but for some really bad turnovers, had a very impressive outing offensively.
Defensively, it was another matter. I paid particular attention to Darius Miller and Darnell Dodson, and it is pretty clear why Miller is starting and Dodson isn't. I was also disappointed in the defense of John Wall. It looks to me like he is really conscious of his fouls, and just isn't quite tough enough defensively. It's hard to be too tough on him, though, he was banged up pretty bad and wound up looking like he had been in a knife fight with a big band-aid over his forehead. An apparent minor hyperextension of his knee scared the bejeezus out of me, but I have to give Wall credit for overall toughness.
More after the jump.
Here are my observations:
- How much fun was the late second half of this game? I couldn't sit down.
- John Wall was great offensively. He shared the ball, and all his shots but two were good ones. A couple of bad turnovers and some matador defense marred an otherwise outstanding outing by Wall.
- I'd give anything to see Darius Miller not disappear for long stretches. But when he's good, he's really good.
- Patrick Patterson is just ... how can you not love this guy? He does it all -- defense, offense, spectacular stuff. I have a huge man-crush on Patterson.
- Eric Bledsoe is developing into a real good player. He had some defensive lapses, but he was always a factor on every possession, even when he didn't score or assist.
- The Big Cuz was tough today, wasn't he?
- DeAndre Liggins played. He didn't impact the stat sheet, but he played. And quite a bit, too. The timing of this suggests the reason for his long absence. I will not say more.
- Daniel Orton is just ... well, he's really a favorite of mine. I love what he does, and I love how he does it.
- Dodson can be so much better than he has been lately.
- Ramon Harris didn't get much time today. Liggins is why.
- Perry Stevenson made a really nice move at the end, and did some nice things. I just wish his hands weren't made of pig iron.
Victory 1999. How sweet it is. It wasn't our best, but then, Calipari said the 'Cats did not practice well, and their lack of energy on defense really showed. I am disappointed the 'Cats didn't show defensive progress, but I'll get over it.