Kentucky Wildcats 89, Florida Gators 77:  Postmortem

The big news of the day may be Lane Kiffin to the USC Trojans, but to Kentucky Wildcat fans, all we want to talk about was the Florida Gators in the O'Connell Center in Gainesville.

A hearty "Great effort!" to the Gators, who played well a lot tonight.  They made threes (particularly in the second half), they made big plays on defense and offense and the had the young Wildcats flustered late in the second half.  But the double-digit hole they were in midway through the second half, as it usually is, was just too much to finish off.  The Gators got it back to even, but just couldn't get to the mountaintop.

For the Wildcats, it was a wild but satisfying game.  John Wall is still struggling on defense, although he did come up with a huge block late in the second half that really helped seal the deal for Kentucky.  Frankly, a lot of the 'Cats did not do well defensively in the second half, an inconsistency that continues to be a weakness for this team.  For much of the first half, the Kentucky defense suffocated Florida, forcing them into some very bad shots that enabled UK to come back from an early seven point hole and take the lead into the locker room.

More after the jump.

But Billy Donovan made some adjustments in the second half, and managed to make Kentucky look like a suspect team on defense, scoring almost at will from the middle of the second half on.  But Florida's defense was even worse than Kentucky's and the Gators could not handle Eric Bledsoe or Patrick Patterson, and that, as they say, was that.

Here are a few observations:

 

  • Kudos to Darius Miller.  He played with better passion, better fire, and had better results.  He made two enormous shots in the second half to preserve Kentucky's lead.
  • John Wall had an okay game.  For most people, it would have been a career game, but for him, it was just okay.  He really needs to work on his lateral movement, as he got beat over and over again off the dribble.
  • Daniel Orton is Riddick the Rejector with muscles and a touch.  Three blocks in one possession?  I can't remember the last time I saw that.
  • Patrick Patterson played well, but he continues to defer.  He needs a little more aggression.  But he played quite well overall.
  • Darnell Dodson may be a terrible defender, but that guy can shoot the basketball.  And he did.
  • What can you say about Eric Bledsoe?  It was like he and John Wall switched bodies or something.  Erving Walker couldn't even slow Bledsoe down.
  • DeMarcus Cousins may not have made a huge impact scoring the ball, but he sure did make an impact on the glass.
  • Very little Liggins.  No Stevenson.  No Harris.  Interesting.
  • Erving Walker can shoot the ball a little.  A couple of those threes he shot were at least 24 feet.
  • Alex Tyus is really getting better.  He gave Patterson all he wanted and then some.
  • The Gators just don't have enough beef in the paint, and it really showed tonight.
As I sit here with my celebratory tot of Four Roses Single Barrel, I have to say that I am very pleased with this victory.  It has been since March of 2004 since we had a convincing win over Florida in the O-Dome, and this one makes up for at least one of the indignities heaped upon us by the Florida '04's.

17-0.  I'm headed for sweet dreams of an undefeated regular season.  It ain't that likely, but it is one game more likely today than it was yesterday.

Next victim opponent -- the Auburn Tigers.

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