In a spin-off of Texts from Last Night, I present Tweets from Last Night. I'll tend to provide a random scattershotting (is that a fake word?) of Tweeted thoughts from various games throughout the year. If you're interested in hearing my ramblings, you can follow me @JC_Hoops. Here's the rundown from last night with some day after comments:
10:20 ET: Teague is a nice penetrator. A little out of control and needs to improve decision-making, but those thing will improve with experience.
I wrote this very early on in the contest, when it became obvious that Marquis Teague could get to the rim at will. As I mentioned repeatedly when profiling Teague, dude needs to work on his decision-making. Coming out of high school, he's very accustomed to beating his man off the dribble in one-on-one situations, but didn't look great at making timely decisions. It was more of the "score or get fouled" mentality. Clearly, that's not going to work nearly as well against upgraded talent in college.
10:28 ET: All of UK's bigs (save for Vargas) comfortable ball-handling and playing on the perimeter. It's an incredible advantage.
I think this is a huge advantage Kentucky has over, say, North Carolina. Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Kyle Wiltjer, and Darius Miller are all very comfortable on the perimeter (and maybe a little too comfortable). That draws big defenders out of their comfort zone: see Thomas Robinson yesterday. Aside from Harrison Barnes, I doubt UNC's bigs will want to spend their afternoon defending the three-point arc, but they'll have to.
10:45 ET: David a force to be reckoned with on the defensive interior. TO's really hurting the Cats right now.
Some good, some bad. Davis has all the makings of an elite shot blocker. Great to see that skill translate from high school mix tapes to major college basketball.
Withey and Johnson both had big first halves for Kansas (along with two threes from former walk-on Conner Teahan, but more or less disappeared in the second.
10:56 ET: MSG's shot clock operator too busy occupying Wall Street, lamenting NBA lockout to bother to watch whether ball hit rim or not.
My attempt at a funny. This happened twice last night: the shot clock ran out after an offensive rebound despite the earlier shot hitting the rim.
Still stand by this.
I made this point in my Elite 8 post, but I think Kentucky is simply more talented than any other team in the country, with only North Carolina coming close. If it's a simple paper matchup, I'll take Kentucky every time. But clearly, John Calipari has some work to do in coaching these guys up to their talent level. And the Wildcats definitely don't look infallible; if anything, they'll drop a game or two that honestly, they have no business losing. It happens.
Remember what I said about Kentucky's bigs feeling comfortable on the perimeter? They basically let Withey run rampant inside, and Jones had a couple battles with Withey and Robinson that he flat out lost. Also, Kidd-Gilchrist is really a more effective player in mid-range rather than just chucking up threes.
Fear the brow.
11:26 ET: As Mike Gundy would say, Terrence Jones is a man. Top 5 player in CBB this year.
Jones played like he had something to prove, for better or for worse. He carried a scowl on his face the entire game, made some "did you see THAT!?!" plays, and also a couple of head-scratchers where he tried to prove he was better than Thomas Robinson. Bottom line: love the swagger, love the production, still room to improve.
Apparently the trending Twitter deal with Davis was "browdown". Not sure I got it, but I'll roll with it.
Love this quote from the real Scott Van Pelt. #BELIEVE
12:11 ET: Tough night for Thomas Robinson. Great battler, but harder to mix up inside sans Morri. Will eat up lesser bigs, though.
It was a little hard to watch Robinson, one of my favorite college players, in this game. His teammates are clearly overmatched talent-wise, and he's struggling with getting doubled on practically every posession. Dude still went off for a double-double and will end up destroying most of the teams he plays though, so I don't feel too bad.
12:13 ET: Teague needs to watch himself close to the midcourt line. Likes to take a back step before pushing upcourt, close to backcourt violation.
Saw this happen twice. Kentucky was a little reckless playing the final minutes out, and it showed. Calipari was upset after the game.
12:22 ET: Solid W for Kentucky. Showed flashes of elite talent, but also improvement opportunities. Excited to see them develop. Freshmen look stout.
Not much else to say there. A win's a win.
From JLev's earlier Q&A with David Hess. Pretty cool.
12:25 ET: Calipari not happy in the postgame interview. Tried to throw a bone or two, but definitely focusing on the mistakes. Well, then.
Ended the night with Calipari's postgame interview. I thought he'd be a little happier about the win (like he ever is), but he sounded particularly discouraged last night. Still, it was a double-digit victory that was pretty much wrapped up with a good chunk of time left to go. After some early jitters, our freshmen shone with talent, and our returnees showed that they've greatly improved their skills since last season.
As for me? An early season win against a solid opponent? I'm happy to get the W. Coach 'em up tomorrow, Cal.