When I spoke earlier this year about getting teams down, putting your foot on their neck, drawing the sword and ending the contest, this is exactly what I meant. Rarely have I seen a team in the NCAA tournament so thoroughly dismantle a really good basketball team in a way that makes it look unfair. This game looked unfair.
I know we did not get the best shot from the Wake Forest Demon Deacons tonight. Believe me, I have seen them play several games this year, and they are not this bad. Kentucky caught a very big break with the third foul on Al-Farouq Aminu, and Wake Forest simply didn't have enough offensive firepower without him to be competitive with a hot UK team playing at the top of their game. I know Wake Forest fans are embarrassed by this defeat, and all I can say to them is that this is a Kentucky team even we have not seen all year. So Wake Forest can be forgiven for asking, "Who dat?"
What amazed me was Darius Miller. I want to pass my condolences on to Darius' parents for the loss of their son, because Darius has clearly been kidnapped by space aliens and replaced by a clone programmed to play like Ron Mercer. I mean, seriously ... Darius Miller? The guy who has hit double figures maybe five times all year?
More after the jump.
I have no idea what has gotten into this team, but the last two games have been the most sadistic dismissals of two tournament teams that I have seen in many, many years. We aren't just talking about "playing well" here -- playing well is when you beat a team like Wake Forest by 10 or 12 points, and a team like the East Tennessee St. Buccaneers by twenty.
These two games, taken together, were so outstanding that superlatives fail me. "Dominance" just doesn't do them justice. These two contests were more like abject, vicious cruelty, something that if you did it to a Kodiak bear even in self defense you would be imprisoned for animal abuse. It was downright inhumane, and I feel like I should pass condolences to these two teams for the ruthless savagery of Kentucky's handling of them.
- Again, my sincere regrets to the Millers for the loss of their son. At the same time, I'd like to welcome his alien clone to the team.
- Patrick Patterson threw down a couple of really nasty dunks. Maybe too nasty, because he just seemed to vanish otherwise.
- DeMarcus Cousins is going to prove me wrong. I claimed that he would get ejected this year, and I am now of the opinion that is just not going to happen. The foul Chas McFarland delivered to him would likely have provoked a reaction from Perry Stevenson, but Cousins just got up and clapped. That was the thing that will stick with me for a long time.
- Eric Bledsoe delivered the sickest dunk I have seen in college basketball this year. That just totally demoralized the Demon Deacons, and I'm still shaking my head over it.
- Daniel Orton is just getting better every game. He has a nasty streak in him that's just as strong as the one in Cousins. I can't believe he drew the "T" and Cousins walked away clapping.
- John Wall made some of the most jaw-dropping passes anyone has ever seen. The normally reserved Jay Bilas could barely contain his effulgence, and frankly, I can't blame him.
- Josh Harrellson, Jon Hood, Mark Krebs and Ramon Harris all get mentions, because they deserve it.
- Darnell Dodson hit a big three in the first half that gave us some critical separation when we were not shooting well.
- DeAndre Liggins continues to do the little things, and he got rewarded with big minutes.
This performance was just ... well, it was something that we have been anticipating all year, but has somehow never showed up. There is no better time for it to show up than in the Big Dance.
Great game, 'Cats. Just ... well, just great.